"Fine" Mirror

Tags: bronzes | Han dynasty | mirror | National Palace Museum


Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220)
Diameter: 16.7 cm, thickness: 0.3 cm 
The back of this mirror has a round knob in the center and is decorated throughout with geometric patterns, protrusions, the Four Spirits, and immortal figures. There is also a ring of auspicious text that states that "the making of this 'fine' mirror is of great favor. The immortals on it know not of old age as they quench their thirst in a stream of jade and feed their hunger with dates. They travel throughout the Heavens and the Four Seas, with longevity like that of bronze and stone to protect the country." This mirror was entered into the "Continuation of Connoisseurship at Ning-shou" at the Ch'ing dynasty (1644-1911) court and was kept in an exquisite mirror case especially made for it. In the Han dynasty, people used mirrors not only for tidying their appearance, but even more so for auspicious significance.

Text: Yang Mei-li

Text and images are provided by National Palace Museum