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Web of Art 17: Transformations, Masks and Shamans

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T'ao-tieh horse mask.
10th-9th c BCE Chinese Zhou (Western) Metalwork

ZHOU WESTERN Anonymous (1045 BCE - 711 BCE) Primary
1000 BCE-800 BCE
10th-9th c BCE
Zhou (Western)
Washington D.C. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
Here we see the zoomorphic T'ao-tieh mask all by itself. This example was attached to a horse. Shang warriors had been introduced to the horse which had most likely been domesticated by the Central Asian nomads. It became a powerful war machine, particularly when combined with the war chariot. How terrifying a huge horse would be, particularly when a frightening mask like this was attached to its harness. The magical T'ao-tieh mask focuses the destructive energies of the spirit world, and it can be used both as an object of power and a protective talisman.

Caption: WESTERN ZHOU | Horse mask. | 1000 BCE-800 BCE | Chinese | Zhou (Western )
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