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Horse Bit with Cheekpieces

Early Etruscan culture is generally referred to as Villanovan because of the archaeological examples first found in Villanova (near modern-day Bologna). In this period Etruscan society grew and rural settlements began their steady transformation into urban centers. Metalsmithing no doubt developed in response to the need for tools and weapons. However, even in this early period, artists skillfully embellished practical objects with patterns and figural decoration—an indication of a growing market for luxury items. This bit, a section of a horse's bridle, is cleverly decorated with the images of horses.

Villanovan or Early Etruscan (Italy)
Horse Bit with Cheekpieces
8th–7th century BC
Bronze
H. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm), W. 6 in. (15.2 cm), L. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 84.28