Sep 30, 2020
Jan 4, 2005
Sep 30, 2020

TLV Mirror with Four Spirits and Companions

TLV Mirror with Four Spirits and Companions


AD 9–100

China, Han dynasty

(202 BC-AD 220)


Diameter: 19 cm (7 1/2 in.); Overall: 1.2 cm (1/2 in.); Rim: 0.7 cm (1/4 in.)

Weight: 1.099 kg (2.42 lbs.)

Gift of Drs. Thomas and Martha Carter in Honor of Sherman E. Lee 1995.301



The back of this mirror shows a diagram of the universe. The concentric rings and swirling cloud band border represent heaven, while the square field around the knob designates the earth. The four directional spirits in the form of animals occupy the space between heaven and earth and are cast in fine lines between the band of swirling clouds and outside the square: the tiger guarding the west, the dragon protecting the east, the red bird representing the south, and the snake-entwined turtle guarding the north.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.