Pole ornament with two owl heads

Accession No. R005055
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Stone
Findspot Royal Tomb No. 1001 Hsi-pei-kang, Yin-xu Site
Geographic Location Hou-Chia-Chuang village, Anyang, Honan province, China
Dimension H.18.9 cm; L.21.4 cm


This artifact is a sculpture of owl heads. The overall shape of the piece is diamond shaped with a hole going through the middle. Both the front and back sides of the artifact are decorated with a symmetric trapezoidal owl face. The owl faces are rendered in low relief with engraved patterns. On each of the owl faces sits an incurved beak and engraved “臣” character shaped eyes. The whole piece has a weathered surface. Tool marks indicative of rotary cutting where identified in the hole through the center. The artifact was possibly an ornamentation piece on a wooden pole or an architectural structure. An identical piece R005056 is found within the same tomb.

It is not easy to establish the details of the holes. This model is for reference only.