Horse bits from the Han dynasty.

Unknown CreatorHan dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)

Hallwyl Museum

Hallwyl Museum
Stockholm, Sweden

Top: Horse Bit
Inventory number: XLIX:I:B.a.01.
Reportedly discovered in Shouzhou (centered in present-day Shou County, Anhui province)

Horse bits are composed of two sections, each with a bar in the center with two rings on either end. One ring is smaller than the other. The two small rings are interlocked, connecting the two pieces together. There are linear patterns that twist around the two large rings.

There is wear around both the interlocking small rings, as well as the large rings on either end. This is evidence that this bit was well-used before they were buried in the ground. The design of horse bits are still the same today.

Horse Bit (Asymmetrical)
Inventory number: XLIX:I:B.a.02.
Reportedly discovered in “Hsü-chou Fu”

Similar in construction to the top bit, this horse bit has two sections. Each section is composed of a central bar with a smaller ring on one side and a larger ring on the other. The two small rings connect the two sections. There are linear designs starting from the bar, wrapping around the larger ring. There is an animal mask where each bar meets the larger ring.

Unlike the other bit, this one has one bar that is longer than the other, making it asymmetrical.


  • Title: Horse bits from the Han dynasty.
  • Creator: Unknown Creator
  • Date Created: Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)
  • Location Created: China
  • Physical Dimensions: L 22 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Chinese Bronze Age, Horse bit, Horse Tack
  • Rights: CC BY

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