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Lobed Mirror with a Tortoise Knob, Musician, and Phoenix

真子飛霜葵花鏡

late 700s
Diameter: 21.6 cm (8 1/2 in.); Overall: 1.2 cm (1/2 in.); Rim: 0.6 cm (1/4 in.)
Weight: 1.394 kg (3.07 lbs.)
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Location: not on view

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The imagery of this mirror includes a tiny turtle knob accompanied by a musician and phoenix.

Description

The inscription on this mirror states it was one of a pair made of metals from the south, and placed in a jade box, perhaps alluding to a wedding gift. The meaning of its design is not entirely known, but may refer to the Daoist immortal Hou Jin, who played the qin (stringed instrument), understood the language of birds, and could make predictions based on the reflections on water. The motifs of the phoenix, the pond, and the qin may all refer to the quest for immortality.
Lobed Mirror with a Tortoise Knob, Musician, and Phoenix

Lobed Mirror with a Tortoise Knob, Musician, and Phoenix

late 700s

China, Tang dynasty (618-907)

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