Provenance: Grays Antique Center, London. Dr. Koos de Jong, acquired from the above in 1999. Dr. de Jong is a Dutch art historian and has been privately collecting Chinese art over decades. He has authored hundreds of articles and several books on Dutch fine and decorative arts spanning from the Middle Ages to the modern era and published an extensive study of saddle rugs in Dragon & Horse. Saddle Rugs and Other Horse Tack from China and Beyond. Between 1976 and 2009 he worked for numerous museums across the Netherlands and was director of the European Ceramic Work Center in Den Bosch.
Condition: Good, original condition, remarkable considering the age of this plaque! Some wear, miniscule nicks and scratches, minor dents and tiny losses. Originally with inlays, which are missing. Fine copper red patina.
Weight: 16.0 g
Dimensions: Length 4 cm
According to E.C. Bunker (see reference below): “Copulating animals occur on artifacts belonging to the non-Chinese peoples that inhabited northern China and Inner Mongolia, particularly areas where hunting was a major element in the local economy. The animals, which include leopards, wild pigs, and deer, are always wild, not domesticated.”
The two stags in the present piece, as evidenced by their antlers (which female deer do not have), appear to be an example of homosexual behavior in animals, a widely known fact today which, despite being ignored by Western researchers until relatively recently, could have easily been observed by the nomadic hunter societies at the time. Another theory for this unusual representation is that the original owner of this plaque used it to (perhaps discreetly) indicate his sexual preference to others.
Literature comparison: E.C. Bunker, Ancient Bronzes of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York 1997, p. 166, no. 71
Auction result comparison: Compare with a related but significantly larger plaque sold by Christie’s Paris in Arts d’Asie on 26 November 2002, lot 224, for EUR €5,875.
來源：倫敦Grays Antique Center。Drs. Koos de Jong收藏，1999年購於上述藝
廊。Drs. de Jong是一位荷蘭藝術史學家， 幾十年來他一直私人收藏中國藝術品。他撰寫了數百篇文章和幾本書，內容涉及從中世紀到現代的荷蘭美術和裝飾藝術。2013年，他在《Dragon & Horse：Saddle Rugs and Other Horse Tack from China and Beyond》中發表了有關中國騎馬裝備的詳盡研究。1976年至2009年間，他曾在荷蘭的許多博物館工作，並曾擔任登博世歐洲陶瓷工作中心的主任。
拍賣結果比較：一件相似但更大些的銅牌于巴黎佳士得《亞洲藝術》2002年11月26日，拍號 224，成交價EUR €5,875。