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Mirror with T-motif design

4th century BCE-3rd century BCE


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Warring States Eastern Zhou circa 770 - 256 BCE Zhou dynasty circa 1100 - 256 BCE → China
    4th century BCE-3rd century BCE
    Media category
    Materials used
    bronze, 'shouxian' type with 'shan' character design
    13.1 cm diam.
    Gift of Graham E. Fraser 1986
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    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.

    Here four slanting T-shapes are superimposed on the background pattern of hook-and-spiral motifs familiar to Warring States bronze vessels. The 'T' motif relates to lozenge designs found on other mirrors of this date but they may also represent the pictogram for mountain suggesting an allusion to the enduring tradition of the landscape and the natural world. Stylised floral motifs emerge from each corner of the central square.

    ‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.74
    © 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication