Lot 1264: Chinese Gilt Lying Camel Figure
December 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Han Dynasty, 206 BC-220 AD. A gilt bronze figure of a reclining camel with legs tucked under the body, head tilted slightly back, detailing of fur to the mane. 160 grams, 55mm (2.5"). Property of a London collector; by inheritance from his grandfather; acquired during travels in the Far East in the 1920s. The camel was arguably of far greater significance than the horse in the history of the Silk Road. Domesticated as long ago as the fourth millennium BC, by the first millennium BC camels were prominently depicted on Assyrian and Achaemenid Persian carved reliefs and figured in Biblical texts as indicators of wealth. In China awareness of the value of the camel was heightened by the interactions between the Han and the Xiongnu toward the end of the first millennium BC when camels were listed among the animals taken captive on military campaigns or sent as diplomatic gifts or objects of trade in exchange for Chinese silk. Campaigns of the Chinese army to the north and west against nomads invariably required support by large trains of camels to carry supplies.
Condition Report: Fine condition.