Garment hook (daigou) with dragons and taotie


Historical period(s)
Western Han dynasty, 206 BCE-8 CE
Gilt bronze with jade
H x W: 19.9 x 2.1 cm (7 13/16 x 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork

Garment hook

casting, China, dragon, gilding, inlay, mask, taotie, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE - 9 CE), WWII-era provenance

From at least 1933
Mrs. Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941), New York and "The Chimneys," Sands Point, Port Washington, Long Island, from at least 1933. [1]

From at least 1944 to 1946
Tonying and Company, New York from at least February 4, 1944. [2]

From 1946
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Tonying and Company, New York on February 18, 1946. [3]


[1] See Umehara Sueji, Shina-kodo Seikwa (Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Europe and America): Part III Miscellaneous Objects vol. 1 (Osaka: Yamanaka & Co., 1933), pl. 69. Mrs. Holmes lent the object to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London in 1935-36, see Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, November 1935-March 7, 1936), cat. 571 (ill.).

[2] The bronze is included on “List of Objects Contemplated for Purchase by the Freer Gallery of Art,” approved by C. G. Abbot, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on February 4, 1944, copy in object file.

[3] See Tonying & Company’s invoice, dated February 18, 1946, in which the bronze figures under no. B 59: “Gilt Bronze Buckle, inlaid with green jade, dragon decoration on both sides / Han,” copy in object file. See also A. G. Wenley’s letter to C. F. Yau, Tonying & Co., New York, dated February 15, 1946, copy in object file, in which Wenley confirms the acquisition of the bronze for the Freer Gallery’s collection.

Previous Owner(s)

Tonying and Company
Mrs. Christian R. Holmes 1871 - 1941

Published References
  • Alfred Salmony. Chinese Jade Through the Wei Dynasty. New York, 1963. cat. 4, pl. 17.
  • Sekai bijutsu zenshu (A Complete Collection of World Art). 40 vols., Tokyo, F1951-1953. cat. 99-100.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum