Chinese bronze mirrors are generally thin circular discs, slightly convex on the polished reflecting side and decorated with cast designs of a symbolic nature on the reverse. A small loop or pierced dome at the centre of the reversed side was used to attach a cord. The earliest known mirrors date from at least the Western Zhou period (900s-800s BCE) but it was during the Han and Tang dynasties that large numbers of highly ornamented mirrors were produced. Their reflective function made them a vehicle for the expression of a fascinating range of mythological and cosmological ideas and beliefs.
Archaeological discoveries suggest that this type of mirror was popular during the Warring States and early Western Han periods. The design of concave arcs and the background pattern of scrolling dragons on a spiral-motif ground are typical of mirrors of the time.
‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.75
© 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Place where the work was made
Han dynasty 206 BCE - 220 CE → China
2nd century BCE
0.5 x 11.3 cm
Bequest of Kenneth Myer 1993
Not on display
Where the work was made
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Bronzes and Jades', Sydney, 2003, 75 (colour illus.).