Bronze 'champion's vase' inlaid with silver and gold, composed of several pieces soldered together: two cylinders placed side by side, two baserings, two upright zoomorphic figures alligned with the long join between the tubes, and one flat figure between the baserings.
The two cylinders were originally made during the Western Han dynasty (206 BC-8 AD) and mounted at a later date, in the Song (960-1279) or early Ming (1368-1644) period.
From the Song dynasty (960-1279) the fashion of collecting and display works of art for their aesthetic value was very widespread among Chinese scholars, officers and wealthy men. The particular favour for archaic bronzes and jades encouraged the production of contemporary objects in an 'archaic' style. Fakes also made their appearance as a consequence of the growing demands in the art market.
This bronze vase is a composite object made of several parts inlaid with gold and silver and soldered together. The two cylinders, probably chariot fittings, date to the Western Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 8), while the bases and the zoomorphic mount were added many centuries later, maybe between the Song and early Ming dynasties (1368-1644). A red and green patination, applied at the end, gave the surface a uniform 'archaic' appearance.