Mirror with Pair of Birds in Chrysanthemum

Mirror with Pair of Birds in Chrysanthemum

1392-1573

Bronze

Diameter: 11.6 cm (4 9/16 in.)

Gift of D. Z. Norton 1917.642

Description

The Japanese used chrysanthemums as decorative elements on mirrors. In the Heian period, a chrysanthemum with cranes or long-tailed birds was a common motif. Later, in the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, chrysanthemum designs were divided into three patterns with different symbolic associations: Chrysanthemum with Cranes represented longevity; Water Flowing suggested longevity as well as the Noh drama Kikujido, or Chrysanthemum Boy; and East Fence alluded to the poem "Drinking Wine" by Tao Yuanming (AD 365–427). Here, the mirror featuring Buddhist iconography (kyojo) and a chrysanthemum design on the back shows that the flower was also appreciated in the context of Buddhism in the Kamakura period.

See also
Collection: 
Japanese Art
Department: 
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Metalwork
Medium: 
Bronze
Credit line: 
Gift of D. Z. Norton

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