Mirror with a Pair of Phoenixes

Mirror with a Pair of Phoenixes

雙鳳鏡

1100s

Bronze

Diameter: 35.1 cm (13 13/16 in.); Overall: 1.3 cm (1/2 in.); Rim: 0.8 cm (5/16 in.)

Gift of Drs. Thomas and Martha Carter in Honor of Sherman E. Lee 1995.389

Fun Fact

A union of male and female birds, the phoenix often symbolizes the yin and yang of Chinese philosophy, which equates to universal balance and harmony.

Description

This exceptionally large bronze mirror features magnificently long-tailed phoenixes with cloud scrolls, motifs that can also be seen on the silk boots nearby. While the mirror, according to its inscription Zhang Zhigao from Jinling (Nanjing) was made in southeast China, the boots were made in the northern part of China then occupied by the Khitan people. The inscription is placed to the right of the mirror’s central knob. Mirrors typically have one polished and one decorated side and were used in part in tombs for ritual purpose or served as disks for reflection.

See also

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