Antique Chinese Belt Buckles Draw Fashion Conscious Men To Gianguan Auctions

Share Article

Rare Chinese belt hooks from the Warring State period are collectible items for fashionable gentlemen. A group of ten comes to auction at Gianguan Auctions on Saturday, September 17.

Men’s fashion has been hooked on the belt ever since warriors tucked weapons into bronze girdles and Chinese emperors elevated elaborate garment hooks to status symbols.

A collection of Fifth Century gilt bronze and jade "diagou" models comes to auction at Gianguan Auctions in New York on September 17th. They are drawing strong interest from the runway conscious as well as serious collectors.

According to the Gallery Director, "The diagous are from a California gentleman who acquired them over a number of years." The ten ancient belt hooks were made during China’s Warring States period (411-420 AD ). At the time, only the royal elite could afford to wrap themselves in luxurious embroidered robes fastened with silk rope and textured sashes secured by artisanal garment hooks of gold, silver, jade, turquoise and coral.

They are the stuff of inspiration, with buckles in the form of dragons, tigers, birds and exotic qilin. All are symbols intended to bring the wearer good luck, good fortune, longevity and prosperity, proving that man’s basics desires have not changed in thousands of years. As often as not, these belt buckles accompanied the well-dressed to the grave, along with a servant and horse, to help the noble establish his status in the underworld.

Measuring six to eight inches long and weighing a pound or more, the diagous were the domain of mostly sedentary men who ruled from thrones and were transported by man-powered litter. Today's owners will display them.

Gianguan Auctions has the diagous on view through Friday, September 16. The auction is Saturday, September 17.

Listed individually in the Gianguan Auctions catalog, the collection begins at Lot 140 and continues through Lot 155. They are conservatively valued at $2,000 to $3,000. Buyers need look no further than the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of ancient Chinese belt buckles for references to the ancient fashion statements. Gianguan Auctions substantiates age and provenance.

Other items in the Gianguan Auctions sale include a massive Qing famille rose vase valued at $2M and seven scroll paintings by Zhang Daqian, the world's second best-selling artist. The sale contains more than three-hundred properties including carved jades, jade jewelry and contemporary watches. For details please visit the online catalog at

Bidding is live in the gallery, by absentee ballot or online at and Condition reports are available by calling the Gianguan Auctions or emailing info(at)gianguanauctions(dot)com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Gina Kolbe

Gallery Director
Follow >
Visit website