Belt hook (daigou) with dragon interlace

Historical period(s)
Warring States period, Late Eastern Zhou dynasty, 4th century BCE
Bronze inlaid with gold and silver
H x W x D: 12.4 x 6.1 x 3 cm (4 7/8 x 2 3/8 x 1 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork

Garment hook

casting, China, dragon, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), inlay, Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE), WWII-era provenance

To 1948
Jun Tsei Tai (1911-1992), Shanghai to February 1948 [1]

Likely Luwu Antiques Company, Shanghai purchased from J. T. Tai in 1948 [2]

1948 to 1949
C. T. Loo, INC. by transfer from Luwu Antiques Company, Shanghai [3]

From 1949
Freer Gallery of Art, Purchased from C. T. Loo, INC. in May 1949 [4]


[1] Jun Tsei Tai (more commonly known in the West as J. T. Tai), known also as Dai Fubao in Shanghai, was an incredibly successful art dealer who was initially based in Shanghai China. Tai became one of C. T. Loo's most prolific suppliers in the 1940s. In 1949, however, J. T. Tai fled with his family to Hong Kong, when Communist leaders came into power. In 1950, he immigrated to New York City, where he established J. T. Tai & Company, a successful company that specialized in the sale of Chinese arts.

See C. T. Loo's stock card no. 46086: "Bronze buckle, curved flat spoon shape with dragon's head hook decorated with intertwined dragons in gold inlaid on silver ground, filled in with small dots. Abstract motives on sides in similar inlaid. Late Chou," Frank Caro Archive, Musée Guimet, Paris. C. T. Loo's stock card notes the source of the object as: “from J. T. Tai China Feb 48.”

[2] Luwu was an export business that supplied C. T. Loo & Company, New York and Paris with Chinese objects. Loo formed this company in 1926. The name, Luwu combines the names of C. T. Loo and Wu Qi Zhou, Luwu’s primary associates. The business acquired objects from across China, but everything passed through Shanghai before being sent to France. Zhou and Laio would send all acquisitions to Shanghai, where Wu packaged and shipped them to France. J. T. Tai (see note 1) began working with Luwu around 1938. Tai operated Fuyun zhai guwandian, a shop with a large inventory in Shanghai.

[3] C. T. Loo formed C. T. Loo, INC. in 1948, when he lost direct access to trade in China. See invoice from C. T. Loo, INC. to Freer Gallery of Art, May 10, 1949. This object is “46086.”

[4] See note 3.

Previous Owner(s)

Lu Wu Antiques Co. 1911-ca. 1949
Jun Tsei Tai 1911-1992
C.T. Loo, INC. ca. 1948-no later than July 1953

Published References
  • Robert Dale Jacobsen. Inlaid Bronzes of Pre-Imperial China: A Classical Tradition and Its Later Revivals. 2 vols. Ann Arbor. pl. 282.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 22, vol. 1: p. 22.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 20.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Art of the Warring States Period: Change and Continuity, 480-222 B.C. Washington, 1982-1983. cat. 54, p. 105.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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