Octafoil-shaped Mirror Featuring Ci Fei, the Dragon Slayer

Octafoil-shaped Mirror Featuring Ci Fei, the Dragon Slayer




Diameter: 17.2 cm (6 3/4 in.); Overall: 1.1 cm (7/16 in.); Rim: 0.5 cm (3/16 in.)

Gift of Drs. Thomas and Martha Carter in Honor of Sherman E. Lee 1995.376


The mythical hero Ci Fei raising his sword to attack sea monsters during his victorious travel through the Yangzi River is depicted on this eight-lobed mirror. On the top, a large inscription in seal script reads “Great and Resplendent is the Heaven (煌丕昌天).”

The mirror was thought to be a Chinese work dating to the Jin dynasty (1115–1234). Recently published excavation reports, however, reveal that this particular type was exclusively unearthed from Korean tombs of the Goryeo period. Scholars speculate that the Goryeo ruling house in Korea adopted this ancient Chinese epic as its ancestral myth and promoted it via mirrors among Goryeo elites.

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