Mirror with geometric patterns

This elaborately cast bronze mirror has stylised mythical creatures with a domed central knop. On the outer and inner fields of the central square design are smaller knops. The raised rim is decorated with ribbed and carved bands.The earliest bronze mirrors were unearthed from the late Neolithic (c.6500-1900 BCE) and Shang (c.1600-1027 BCE) sites and it is thought the craft of making cast bronze mirrors began during these periods. The heydays of bronze culture came to an end with the discovery of iron and porcelain. While it continued to be used as a material, it became less popular later on.Bronze mirror casting fell at the time of the Han dynasty and was later revived during the Tang dynasty (618-906). Early Han mirrors were thicker and heavily decorated. Inscriptions are often the focus or an essential part of the Han mirror design.Bronze mirrors were considered talismanic and were believed to protect its owner. Divine creatures like the 'pan' dragon believed to have the power to bring good luck, were frequently depicted. These mirrors were often placed in tombs and larger ones were carried by Daoist priests on their backs to frighten off demons.

Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)
Object size: D18 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Gift from Jurong Town Corporation