Image credit via Christies
Pointing to the galloping horse motif at each end of the headdress, Cheng says that they reference the nomadic culture of tribes that lived on the steppes of central Asia. The hooves of the powerful steed barely touch the ground — indeed, it has been elevated to mythical status, with antlers and flames leaping from its haunches. In contrast, the floral patterns on the band are evocative of Tang-dynasty woven textiles. ‘It’s really the marriage of two cultures seen in one object,’ says Cheng.