Mirror with Phoenixes, Birds, Butterflies, and Floral Sprays

Mirror with Phoenixes, Birds, Butterflies, and Floral Sprays


Bronze with silver and gold inlaid lacquer

Diameter: 19.2 cm (7 9/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1973.74


This extremely rare pingtuo mirror is coated with a lacquer base inlaid with silver and gold. The decorative patterns, especially the floral arabesques and the phoenixes and birds holding branches in their mouths, have a pronounced Persian and Central Asian flavor. Luxury items like this had been used by the Tang emperor as an imperial gift. A similar example from the Japanese imperial collection of Emperor Shōmu was donated by Empress Kōmyō to the Shōsō-in repository of the Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara, in 756.

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