The present weight is remarkable for its large size and particularly dynamic arrangement of several animals, whose bodies twist and turn, merging into an ambiguous mass. Whilst the majority of known mat weights measure approximately 3 inches or less in width, a small number of larger weights are known. Four Western Han dynasty bears, each measuring between 5 and 6 1/4 inches from the collections of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Saint Louis Art Museum were included in the exhibition A Bronze Menagerie: Mat Weights of Early China, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 2007, cat. nos 4-6.
The sculptural depiction of animals in combat was introduced to China from the nomadic and semi-nomadic cultures of Central Asia, the Eurasian steppes, and the Ordos region, and was an innovation particular to the Warring States and Han dynasty periods. Compare smaller mat weights in the form of two energetic fighting animals, such as one illustrated in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's exhibition, ibid., p. 84, fig. c.; another from the collection of Dr. Paul Singer included in the exhibition "Animal Style" Art from East to West, Asia House Gallery, New York 1970, cat. no. 80; and a third sold at Christie's New York, 2nd December 1993, lot. 184.
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