Belt hook

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.

Media files used on this page

Eastern Han shield-shaped belt hook.jpg
A Chinese Eastern Han Dynasty bronze shield-shaped belt hook, inlaid with silver and gold, dated 25 to 220 AD.
Boucle Han Chine Guimet 2910.jpg
Ornemental belt buckle, decorated with a mythical animal and birds. Chiseled and hammered gold, late Han period, first or second century. Guimet Museum, Paris.
Yanik bone object.jpg
Author/Creator: Yari-Mirase Arka, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
A bone object found in the Bronze Age layers of Yanik Tepe located to the northeast of Lake Urmia, some 20 km from Tabriz
1. Egyptian man, 2. Egyptian woman, 3. Ancient greek woman wearing a peplos, 4. Greek man shown in "chiton", 5. Greek woman during Hellenistic period, 6. Noble roman in tunic, 7. Roman woman during the time of the roman empire, 8. Byzantine emperor Justinian, 9. Byzantine empress Theodora, 10. Frankish nobleman, 11. Frankish lady, 12. German nobleman 13th century, 13. German lady of nobility 13th century, 14. Titled young lady (1400), 15. Titled young man (1400), 16. Gentleman of Burgundy, 17. Gentleman of Burgundy, 18. Lady of Burgundy and 19. Nurnberg Citizen (1500).