May 16, 2018
May 16, 2018

Mirror with Paired Felines

Mirror with Paired Felines

late 500s-600s


Diameter: 14.5 cm (5 11/16 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1926.249



The two leopard-like creatures stalking each other around the knob of this mirror display a naturalistic animal style that emerged with the Sui and Tang unification of China. Their constrained energy contrasts markedly with the reserved image of a young woman described in the encircling poetic inscription:

The maiden's chamber—bright and clear
Her precious mirror—round
It has doubled both her eyes
As she danced with the lonely phoenix.
Its light flows over her powdered face, painted brow
Diffusing radiance upon her silken gauze
While with infinite delicacy
She demurely glances at herself.

Unlike the tightly integrated Han mirrors, examples of the Sui and Tang are typically inscribed with romantic verses that bear no relation to their accompanying designs.

See also
China - Sui Dynasty
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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