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Mirror (Inscription)

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China Anonymous, Chinese
Mirror (Inscription), 206 BCE - 8 AD
2 3/4 in. x 2 3/4 in. x 1/8 in. (6.99 cm x 6.99 cm x 0.32 cm)

Object Type: Decorative Arts
Technique: Metalworking
Creation Place: Asia, China
Credit Line: Gift of the Powells
Accession Number: 0276

"Circles of Reflection," exhibition catalog, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, 2002, p.35.

Sticker: #3. Label: G 1998 3.

Cast silvered bronze.

Object Description
Round bronze mirror with a domed boss and three fields. The the inner field has a pattern of alternating groups of triple and single parallel lines, and is bordered by a scalloped rim or eight arcs. The center field has an inscription, set concavely between striated line bands. The mirror has a thick, raised, plain rim.

This appears to be "riguang" (sunlight) mirror, though the inscription is rather faded. The inscription contains eight characters, divided by two alternate types of spacers. The inscription on the riguang mirror reads:

By the light of the sun,
The world is made bright.

In the Cleveland Museum of Art's "Circles of Reflection" exhibition catalog, it states; "The modest style and, presumably, price enabled it to reach a broad clientele. Archaeologically, this subtype enjoyed a fairly extensive distribution, roaming from the center of the empire all the way to peripheral regions such as the west, northeast, and extreme south. Most sunlight mirrors are quite similar in appearance, regardless of whether they hailed from Xi'an, Luoyang, or Liaoning."*

*p. 35.

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