About this artwork
The bar-shaped scabbard slide, used for suspending a long iron weapon from a low-slung leather belt, saw widespread distribution throughout the Mediterranean, Central and Western Asia, and the Ural steppe (southern Russia), where it likely originated in the 7th/6th century B.C. The earliest scabbard slides, used by cavalry as well as nomadic tribes engaged in hunting and herding, were likely made of stone, wood, and metal. Nomadic horsemen who occupied China’s northern and Central Asian steppe regions likely introduced the scabbard slide to craftsmen in central and southern China, who designed elegant versions like this in jade. These, in turn, inspired imitations in commoner stones by later craftsmen of the steppe regions. The scabbard slide therefore seems to have traveled full circle—eastward to China and from there, westward again.
- Scabbard Slide
- 206 BC–9 AD
- 9/16 × 2 3/16 × 7/8 in.
- Edward and Louise B. Sonnenschein Collection