A rare pair of bronze silver-inlaid crossbow holders, cheng nu qi
Late Warring States/Western Han DynastyEach rectangular socket of the bow-support shaped as a head of a tiger depicted with round ears and bulging eyes, the open mouth and elegantly-curved neck terminating with the head of a phoenix, all finely decorated with silver and gold inlaid designs forming abstract lines of coils, spirals and cicadas. Each 19cm (7 1/2in) long. (4).
戰國晚期/西漢 青銅嵌銀承弩器一對Provenance: acquired on 20 November 1969 (invoice)來源：購於1969年11月20日（發票）Crossbows first came into use during the Eastern Zhou dynasty (771-256 BC). Crossbow holders (cheng nu qi 承弩器) developed alongside as a means of securing the weapons to chariots and ensured ready access by soldiers. The front extends upwards into a curved hook, while the back end opened into a socket that was attached to a tenon at the front of the chariot. The crossbow would have been hitched to this tenon at an upward slant. A bronze chariot model from pit no.1 of the mausoleum of Qin Shihuangdi shows clearly how this was fitted. See Age of Empires: Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties, New York, 2017, pp.90-91. Compare with a related pair of bronze crossbow holders with very similar gold and silver inlay decoration, Western Han dynasty, excavated from the tomb of Prince Jing of Zhongshan (Liu Sheng, d.113 BC) in Mancheng, now in the Hebei Provincial Museum, Shijiazhuang, and illustrated in Ibid, pp.121-122, no.43. A related pair of bronze crossbow holders, Late Warring States Period, is in the collection of the Cleveland Art Museum, Ohio, acc.no.1947.3.