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Celadon Iron-cored Jade Belt Hook with Cloud Patterns
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2022.01.25 13:15:29

Measurements: Length 19 cm, Width 1. 5 cm
Period: Qin (221--207 BCE)
Provenance: Unearthed at the north hill of the Guanzhuang village, Biyang county, Henan, 1978.

With a tone of celadon and the shape of the chi dragon, this object features a dragon-headed form and snake’s snout at two ends, with meticulous carvings of mouth, nose, eye, ear, and a vivid shape. It is covered all over with patterns of hooked thunders. It is comprised of 10 segmented parts connected together with an iron strip as the movable internal core,each measuring 1-4 cm.

Belt hooks were used for securing belts in ancient China, and were named as Xi Pi. They were originally ornaments on the garments of nomadic peoples. Being both practical and ornamental, belt hooks were made from rich raw materials, and came in diverse shapes. Its emergence and prevalence were likely associated with the evolvement of ancient garments, and the appearance of the leather belt resulted in the pervasiveness of belt hooks.

Jade belt hooks were first discovered in the ruins of the Liangzhu Culture from the Neolithic Ages. They witnessed their golden age in the Qin and Han dynasties. Earliest craftsmanship that combined iron and nephrite were discovered and embodied in the archaeological finds from Guo Ji’s tomb of the Western Zhou dynasty. In the Qin dynasty, just as the present examples shows that the craftsmanship was used more maturely and intricately.