The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 26, 2024

Lobed Mirror with Heaven and Earth between the Paired Phoenixes

Lobed Mirror with Heaven and Earth between the Paired Phoenixes

mid to late 700s
Diameter: 22.5 cm (8 7/8 in.); Overall: 1.1 cm (7/16 in.); Rim: 0.7 cm (1/4 in.)

Did You Know?

This mirror contains cosmological symbolism with heaven represented by a large circle at top and earth by a square at bottom.

Description

This mirror bears an important inscription as well as symbolic imagery of the Eight Trigrams and Heaven and Earth to express the ancient Chinese cosmological ideas. The inscription reads:
Circle above and square below:
These are symbolic of heaven and earth.
In the middle are the Eight Trigrams.
Making clear [the forces of] yin and yang.
Stars and constellations are well aligned;
The sun and the moon are virtuous and bright.
Circulating around [the earth] is water,
Giving identity to the Four Great Rivers.
Within are the mountain ranges,
To signify the lordly heights.
  • -1995
    Thomas and Martha Carter, Madison, WI, ?-1995, given to the Cleveland Museum of Art
    1995-
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, 1995-present
  • Chou, Ju-hsi. Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2000. Reproduced: cat. no. 69, pp. 75-76 and 121
    Cahill, Suzanne E. "The Moon Stopping in the Void: Daoism and the LIterati Ideal in Mirrors of the Tang Dynasty." .Cleveland Studies in the History of Art 9 (2005): 24-41. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 38, fig.15 www.jstor.org
    Delacour, Catherine. La Voie du Tao: un Autre Chemin de L'être : Galeries Nationales, Grand Palais, 29 Mars-5 Juillet 2010. Paris: Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 2010. Reproduced: pp. 136-137, cat. 11.2
  • Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (September 17-November 26, 2000); China Institute Gallery, New York, NY (February 6-June 2, 2002); Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison, WI (December 20, 2003-February 29, 2004).
    La voie du Tao, un autre chemin de l'Etre. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, 75008 Paris, France (March 29-July 5, 2010).
  • {{cite web|title=Lobed Mirror with Heaven and Earth between the Paired Phoenixes|url=false|author=|year=mid to late 700s|access-date=26 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1995.351