Octafoil Mirror with Hunters and Prey


late 600s–early 700s
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

Four stylized mountains in diminutive scale represent the cardinal directions around the animal-shaped knob at the center of the mirror.


Corrosion has covered this mirror's surface with an uneven layer of green patination. Otherwise, this medium-sized mirror is strong in impact and dynamic in movement. The border arrangement is typical, with eight compartments for four types of decoration arranged in pairs across the same axis. Other than the cloud scrolls, which have been radically transformed so as to be almost unrecognizable, the rest are fine portrayals of insects and plants—a typical arrangement for Tang mirrors, perhaps of the eighth century.

The chief focus, of course, lies in the inner circle, which has gained in size and dimension. At its center is a crouching beast. Action is most apparent in the sequence of the hunt, with hunters on horses, shooting with bow and arrow at the prey, or carrying a long lance for the attack. The prey includes bear, deer, rabbit, and boar—their size and pose being sufficiently varied. The insistence on horror vacui (fear of empty spaces) is apparent; wherever the likelihood of a vacant space exists, the maker of the mirror has inserted a plant to fill the void. The result is a fast-paced whirling motion that never ends.
Octafoil Mirror with Hunters and Prey

Octafoil Mirror with Hunters and Prey

late 600s–early 700s

China, Tang dynasty (618-907)

Visually Similar Artworks

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 collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

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.