Belt hook

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An Eastern-Han golden belt hook, hammered and chiseled with designs of mythical animals and birds

The belt hook is a device for fastening that predates the belt buckle.[1][2]

A possible bone belt hook found in the Bronze Age layers of Yanik Tepe, northeast of Lake Urmia, Iran

The earliest archaeological evidence of belt hooks date to the 7th century BCE, in East Asia.[1] Belt hooks were made with bronze, iron, gold, and jade.[1] Texts from Warring States period China claim that the belt hook originates from Central Asian nomads, although belt hooks have been found in China predating the Warring States.[2] The equestrian tradition, initially foreign to China, was tightly related to wearing belted pants, thus belt hooks became one of the features of "barbaric" exoticism. As such, the hooks became an object of aesthetic contemplation. For example, Qu Yuan (ca.340-278 BCE) compares beautiful women to the belt hooks xianbei 鮮卑.[3]

Belt hooks have also been found in Celtic archaeological sites.[4]

An Eastern-Han belt hook


  1. ^ a b c Barbara Ann Kipfer (30 April 2000). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology. Springer. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-306-46158-3.
  2. ^ a b Donald B. Wagner (1993). Iron and Steel in Ancient China. BRILL. p. 169. ISBN 978-90-04-09632-5.
  3. ^ "Kinesis versus Stasis, Interaction versus Independent Invention" by Victor H. Mair in Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World, University of Hawai‘i Press, 2006:1-2. [1] Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 27.02.2015)
  4. ^ D. W. Harding (18 June 2007). ARCHAEOLOGY OF CELTIC ART. Psychology Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-415-35177-5.