Shell-inlaid gilded deer

Han Dynasty
Height: 4.3 cm, Bottom Size: 9×5.8 cm
Collected in the Capital Museum

This crouching deer consists of a seashell body and bronze head and limbs. Its raised head is further fixed to the sea shell body by back-spreading antlers and ears. The lower edges of the belly and limbs curve upward to support the shells. Traces of gold could be seen somewhere on the body. Its ingenious integration of two materials, especially using the shell’s pattern as the deer’s pattern, can best represent the artistic efforts. The style was unique in Han Dynasty.