WF 70 Two ivory belt toggles墜子


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17th/18th century 

One toggle is carved in the form of a round melon 瓜 (gua) growing from a gnarled branch with a withered leaf. The second Ivory toggle is carved as a walnut, 核桃(hetao) showing its two halves. Both have a rich warm patina 

Each ca 3.7 cm

Chinese belt toggles are often mistaken for Japanese netsuke. Both kinds of carvings have a similar function as counterweights on the cords of small bags hung on men's belts.They have one or two 'string eyes' which could pass a cord. They are made in all kinds of natural materials including wood, ivory, jade, porcelain etc.  Most of them have an auspicious and symbolic meaning. 
The toggle in the form of a melon symbolises a wish for many sons as it is full of seeds. The walnut is carved showing its two halves which stands for harmony and unity 和和(hehe). It is also a symbol of intelligence and wisdom and even looks like brains

Provenance: An old Dutch collection acquired in the 1930s

 

Works of Art > Early Bronzes