The Virtual Coe Being together while being apart....
May 15, 2020
This is a Han Dynasty belt hook made of cast bronze and dates from sometime between 206 BCE and 220 CE. Belt hooks like these became increasingly popular across China during the Warring States period (481-221 BCE) until belt buckles took their place beginning in the 3rd Century CE.

Originally serving as utilitarian items to keep leather or silk belts fastened, belt hooks eventually came to serve as markers of status and wealth, becoming increasingly larger and made of highly valuable materials such as white jade.

Sometimes the hooks hold engraved messages, or even function as seals, and many of them take the shape of animals or monsters. This relatively demure hook is sculpted in the shape of an insect. Do you think it is a scorpion, or a beetle, or some other creature?


Unknown (Han), Belt Hook , 206 BCE–220 CE, Bronze, 1.5 x 2.75 in. (3.8 x 6.9 cm). Gift of Ralph T. Coe, 2011. AS0001
It is easy enough to say that an object evokes..., but consider too that they also may talk, and may do so loudly and demonstratively—telling us things we may or may not want to always hear or acknowledge. 

This piece creates an indispensable entrance or portal to other worlds, worlds that we as outsiders might mistakenly believe simplistic, unchanging, or even diminished by contact with the outside world. But every community represented by the Coe collections is full and enriching and as complicated and inclusive with good and bad, as our own Euro-American lives and societies.

With your only clue being that this object speaks—can you guess what it is? Discover more about this piece by clicking here .
Collections Spotlight , a program developed in partnership with  First American Art Magazine, is an interactive, online discussion that brings together diverse scholars and Native artists who select artworks from the Coe’s collection to interpret and discuss. The virtual Zoom format also brings together attendees from diverse regions, and the artist can take audience questions at the end.

This second episode features Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Chippewas of Rama First Nation). Neebin is a graphic designer, artist, photographer, and writer located in Santa Fe, NM.

Tuesday, May 19
3:00 PM Mountain / 4:00 PM Central
2:00 PM Pacific / 5:00 PM Eastern

You are welcome to join us on Zoom for free, just register here to get your log-in information.



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The Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts is a private operating 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent of the Internal Revenue Code. Please donate online or mail checks to the Ralph T. Coe Center for the Arts, 1590 B Pacheco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Your support creates connection. Thank you.

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