The Metropolitan Museum collection contains pieces of metalwork created by the nomadic peoples who lived on and beyond ancient China’s northern and northwestern borders during the first millennium B.C. A salient feature of this nomadic art is the naturalistic detail and vitality of the animal imagery that is the subject of most of these jewel-like artworks. This is well represented in a belt plaque that depicts two confronting bulls poised as if ready to fight. Such portable artworks were intended to highlight the wealth and status of the owner.
[Zhixin Jason Sun, Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Orientations, March 2015]