Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pull Toy of a Cart and Driver

Majapahit period (1296–1520)
ca. 15th century
Indonesia (East Java)
H. 10 11/16 in. (27.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Gift of Samuel Eilenberg, 1987
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 247
Bronze and terracotta wheeled objects, probably intended to be children's toys, are found in many cultures—the early art of India, for example, is rich in such material. It is assumed that when made from the more costly bronze, the toys were for children of the upper classes.
Bronze toys with wheels and axles from the Eastern Javanese period usually take the form of horses and riders or rams and other animals. Representations of carts and drivers are uncommon but probably once existed in some numbers. In this example, the cart, faithfully reproduced from some original, is carefully modeled, but the driver is represented in a curiously cursory fashion. His dress and hairstyle indicate his humble origins, and his cap (or pigtail) and long pointed nose give him the look of a character from the Javanese shadow-puppet world. The significance of the short object in his right hand and of the longer one held in his left and extending beyond his elbows is unclear. The charm of the object is as apparent to us today as it must have been to its original owner.
Samuel Eilenberg , New York (until 1987; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection," October 2, 1991–June 28, 1992.

Related Objects

The Mother Goddess Men Brajut (Hariti)

Date: 14th–15th century Medium: Terracotta Accession: 2009.321 On view in:Gallery 248

Enthroned Buddha Attended by the Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani

Date: second half of the 10th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 2004.259 On view in:Gallery 247

Hanging Lamp in the Form of a Kinnari

Date: ca. second half of the 9th–early 10th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 1987.142.24 On view in:Gallery 247

Ax Head with Human Body

Date: ca. 500 B.C.–A.D. 300 Medium: Bronze Accession: 2000.284.39 On view in:Gallery 244

Standing Padmapani Lokeshvara

Date: ca. second half of the 9th–first half of the 10th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 1994.528 On view in:Gallery 247