Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 25 AD)
Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming
Cowrie shells were used as an early form of money in this region of China. They were kept in elaborately decorated bronze containers such as the one shown here. The top of the container is surmounted by a freestanding gilt horseman who is encircled by four oxen, which are in turn approached by two tigers climbing up on opposite sides of the containter.