Daigou buckle, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 4th–3rd century BC. Bronze, width 18,5 cm. National Gallery of Prague, Vp 384.
Hooks to fasten a belt or corner of a garment were used in China since the 6th century B.C., including nomads in Eurasian forests and steppe areas. The shape of such hooks suggests their function: a button on the reverse of a garment was attached to one end while a hook connected the other end of the belt or garment. As the hooks and buckles decorated with fine ornaments or inlays of precious metals and semiprecious stones suggest, the objects originally designed only for utilitarian purposes gradually became luxurious artifacts for personal decoration expressing the social status and prestige of those who wore them.