Pair of chariot rein rings with wild boar decoration

A pair of bronze chariot rein rings, one of which is complete and the other missing a section of the ring. Both have a figurative design incorporating the head of a wild boar. They are free-standing pieces. Great attention has been paid to detailing the realistic elements of the beast. His thick pelt is suggested by grooving. Elements of iron can be seen on the bottom of the peg, where the rein ring was attached to other elements of the chariot structure.

These bronze chariot rein rings, apart from their technical use, were also aesthetic elements used to decorate the horse-pulled chariots. The artistic quality of the pieces varied according to the wealth of the owner.

Bronze was one of the materials most commonly used for tableware and daily objects in the Roman period. It was even used to make small pieces of cast and embossed household objects such as the brasero heater found in the temple of Isis in Pompeii, which stands of four legs in the form of feline paws. Bronze was also used for making most of the armour that soldiers wore on parade.

The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out from expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To remove the final piece the mould must be removed.

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