Oct 14, 2021
Jan 13, 2004
Oct 14, 2021

Octafoil Mirror with Lunar Palace

Octafoil Mirror with Lunar Palace


early 1100s–mid-1200s


Diameter: 21.3 cm (8 3/8 in.); Overall: 0.9 cm (3/8 in.); Rim: 0.8 cm (5/16 in.)

Weight: 954 g (2.1 lbs.)

Gift of Drs. Thomas and Martha Carter in Honor of Sherman E. Lee 1995.375



Escaping to a Better World: Eccentrics and Immortals in Chinese Art (Chinese art rotation)


Bronze mirrors typically have one polished and one decorated side and were used in tombs for ritual purpose or served as disks for reflection. This mirror depicts the imagined scene of the moon in Chinese mythology. Legend says that the goddess Chang E consumed the elixir of immortality that she stole from her husband, the archer Yi, and flew to the moon. Chang E’s palace, the Broad Cold Palace (Guanghan gong) on the left side of the composition, is juxtaposed with a tall pine tree symbolizing longevity. A rabbit and a toad, both creatures believed to live on the moon, can be seen in the center.

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