The brass letter opener was made to fit the carved dragon belt hook. It is attached with a one loop on the back of the belt hook and a second loop just under the dragon's head. The result is a really beautiful and elegant letter opener that is clearly Chinese!
There is archaeological evidence that belt hooks were worn in China as early as the 7th century BC. As Chinese began riding horses, the belt hooks became quite important to secure clothing. They were made from valued matierials such as bronze, jade and hard stone. Over time they were sometimes decorated with silver, gold and turquoise.
They were highly prized by the owners. Dragons are very important and highly regarded in Chinese culture. They are the ultimate symbol of power and energy.
Dragons are also symbols of benevolence, prosperity and longevity. Dragons often appear in Chinese art and on antique Chinese belt hooks.The belt hook did not test as jadite on a Presidium electronic gem tester (which is non-invasive testing). Hard stone carvings are can be quite beautiful and even have the look & feel of jade.
And hard stones along with jade have been carved by artisans in China for centuries. A hard stone is a semiprecious stone that can be carved into a statue or used for jewelry. The stone carved for this beautiful antique belt hook tested in the range of hard stones such as chrysoprase, emerald and tanzanite. I cannot identify the exact hard stone but it is white in color and a little with russet The stone is cool and smooth to the touch. Natural features of the hard stone are visible in the carving including inclusions.The dragon belt hook predates the brass letter opener. The brass letter opener is probably late 19th century or early 20th century. The letter opener is unmarked. These old hand crafted Chinese letter openers with dragons are somewhat rare and usually very expensive even with damage. The carving of this antique Chinese hard stone belt hook required great skill and time by a Chinese artisan.
There could be minor surface scratches on the belt hook and letter opener. Overall, the old belt hook is in excellent condition with normal wear as expected from being an antique. The brass letter opener is in excellent vintage condition with minor scratches and tarnish from usage.The carving on the brass is slightly worn from usage. The tip of the letter opener shows usage. The letter opener fits nicely and securely on the belt hook. Length & width of belt hook: 4 1/8" x 11/16".
Thickness of belt hook: 5/8" - 1". Total length of brass letter opener: 9 3/8. Length of blade to open letters: 6 5/8. Width of letter opener at widest point: 13/16. This rare old Chinese carved white & russet hard stone belt hook letter opener would make a lovely addition to a collection of Asian art and antiques.It looks beautiful on a desk as part of your home decor. The letter opener would also be a wonderful addition to a collection of letter openers. It is a beautiful and elegant work of art in wonderful condition.
Please note: We make every effort to accurately describe all items offered for sale. We encourage you to use your own judgment and expert advice for dating and valuing items. Examine the photos as they are part of the description. We cannot make any guarantees as to the actual age of any items offered for sale, as opinions are known to vary from one expert to another. I do not charge for packing materials.Please examine the photos to assess the condition for yourself. Other items shown in the photos are for display purposes only. The item "Old Chinese Carved White & Russet Hard Stone Dragon Belt Hook on Letter Opener" is in sale since Saturday, January 5, 2019. This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian Antiques\China\Other Chinese Antiques". The seller is "wilderness03" and is located in Deerfield, Virginia. This item can be shipped to United States.