The equestrian tradition, initially foreign to China, was strongly related to wearing trousers which were belted, and so belt hooks became one of the features of barbaric exoticism, becoming an object of aesthetic contemplation. For example, Qu Yuan (circa 340-278 BC) compares beautiful women to the belt hooks xianbei.
Chinese Han Dynasty Inlaid Bronze Belt Hook
A long slender Chinese belt hook in bronze, gold and silver. The hook as an integral button to the rear, midway along its bowed length and terminates in a dragon’s head at one end, tapering to a blunt rounded end at the oher. The hook was decorated along its length with aesthetic shield-shaped and swirl design grooves which were inlaid with silver and gold, much of which remains in the upper half, less so in the lower half.
Period: Western Hand Dynasty
Condition: Very fine with good stable bronze. Parts of the original silver and gold inlay now eroded away.