The centre of this exhibition, metal belt hooks, flourished in the Zhou, Qin and Han Dynasties. There are two types of hooks in history: one is a weapon, and the other refers to the belt or garment hook. When the great Tang poet Li Bai (701-762 CE) chanted in his “Ode to a Knight” that “the man of Zhao wore an unadorned hat with simple tassel; his hook of Wu was shining brightly as frost and snow,” he was referring to the first type of hooks. These hooks of our exhibition from the De-Neng-Tang Collection are all belt hooks. Well decorated with gold and silver, they are no less shining than the snow-bright blade of a hooked sword. Their bodies, some of the iron, are the remains of great antiquity, hooking us up to the world of yesterday, to the age of dignity. From this lineage comes our exhibition of belt hooks that are “Cast for Dignity.”
With a focus on the belt hooks from the De-Neng-Tang Collection, this exhibition undertakes an untrodden path to showcase the casting and decoration of the belt hook in early China. The exhibition is divided into 8 sections, “The Tao of the Belt Hook”, “Cast in Gold and Silver”, “Inlaid with Gold and Silver”, “Made of Iron”, “Set with Jewels”, “Human and Beast”, “The Art of the Belt Hook” and “The Great Synthesis”. A glimpse into the hook is a view into a world full of all creatures, great and small. Starting from the perspective of craftsmanship, the exhibition attempts to reveal the panorama of the subject through meticulous investigations into its parts, hoping to inspire new interpretations of relevant archaeological data.
All members of the public are welcome. Entry to the exhibition is free with no need to book.