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Mirror (Inscription)

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China Anonymous, Chinese
Mirror (Inscription), late 2nd c BCE - 1st c BCE
2 9/16 in. x 2 9/16 in. x 1/8 in. (6.5 cm x 6.5 cm x 0.3 cm)

Object Type: Decorative Arts
Technique: Metalworking
Creation Place: Asia, China
Credit Line: Gift of Miss Helen K. Powell
Accession Number: 0284

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

Cast bronze.

Object Description
Round bronze mirror with a high dome boss set on a concave circular base. The design consists of four fields. The inner field is plain, followed by a field of eight arc circles. The third field is the inscription band (with cryptic symbols). The outer band id composed of striated lines. The mirror has a heavy, 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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