Bronze; 3 11/16 x 4 1/2 in. (9.4 x 11.4 cm)
Gift of Ernest Erickson Foundation Inc., 1985 (1985.214.88–89)
Part of a larger set of four such ornaments, these two standing does are designed to fit over the yoke of a two-wheeled chariot. They were cast using a simple two-piece mold and are hollow in the center. Each is beautifully modeled. The curved back and chest, muscular haunches, and bony legs are all vividly captured; arrowlike recesses in the otherwise smooth body help define the joints. Red pigment accentuates the long ears, wide eyes, nostrils, and open mouths of the deer.
Similar does as well as yoke ornaments in the form of rams and deer have been found on chariots in burials of herding tribes in northwest China and Inner Mongolia but not in the northeast. Yoke ornaments, such as this pair, are not found in burials dating after the end of the third century B.C. It is thought that the disappearance of vehicles, yokes, and other adornments in burials reflects the introduction of mounted warfare at that time.