Fanciful Animal

Han Dynasty, 206BC - 220AD
Shaanxi History Museum, Xi'an

This charming golden (gilt) beast has a patterned, deer-like body and a head with an incurved beak. Its antlers support four sinuous and interconnected necks, each of which terminates in a smaller version of the animal's main head. Compare: a bronze deer-shaped ornament from the Warring States period, in Gansu.