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Elephant Head and Camel Shaped Garment Hooks

Unknown CreatorEastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, 4th – 3rd century BCE

Hallwyl Museum

Hallwyl Museum
Stockholm, Sweden

GARMENT HOOK (DAIGOU) IN THE FORM OF AN ELEPHANT HEAD

Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, 4th – 3rd century BCE
Reportedly discovered in Gushi County, Henan province.
Inventory number: XLIX:I:D.03.
Dimensions: 3.6 x 2.9 cm

This garment hook is in the form of an elephant’s head. The hook section of this objects is modeled after an elephant’s trunk. There is a button on the back of the hook that would have attached to a leather belt. Small hooks, such as this, could have been used for attaching sword scabbards to the belt.

There were elephants in Central China during the Bronze Age. They lived as far north as Anyang in Henan province. The earliest written account of elephants in China occurs in the Shijing, or the Classic of Poetry, from the 11th – 7th centuries BCE. Elephants were occasionally used in warfare in China up until 971. Today, wild elephants can only be found in the tropical regions of Xishuangbana in Yunnan province, southwest China.

GARMENT (DAIGOU) IN THE FORM OF A CAMEL

Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475 – 221 BCE)
Reportedly discovered in Gushi County, Henan province.
Inventory number: XLIX:I:D.30.
Dimensions: 2.9 x 1.2 cm

In the form of a recumbent camel with its neck thrust out and head tucked in, this hook is depicting the animal in a relatively realistic manner. The dense spiral decoration near the front legs of the animal helps date it to the Warring States period. The button underneath the camel would have attached to a leather belt, and the neck of the camel would have secured the other end of the belt, or perhaps sword scabbard. Camels would have been valued as hardy pack animals, carrying supplies or other goods on long-distance journeys.

Details

  • Title: Elephant Head and Camel Shaped Garment Hooks
  • Creator: Unknown Creator
  • Date Created: Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, 4th – 3rd century BCE
  • Location Created: China
  • Subject Keywords: Chinese Bronze Age, Garment Hooks, Dress, Camel, Elephant
  • Rights: CC BY

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