May 16, 2018
May 16, 2018

Mirror with 'Shan' (Mountain) Pattern

Mirror with 'Shan' (Mountain) Pattern

200s BC


Diameter: 18 cm (7 1/16 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1972.34



Chinese mirror-casting achieved new elegance and precision with the technical development of stamped clay molds over which molten bronze was poured. A small rectangular unit of design was repeatedly stamped to create this background of curls and granulation, which resembles feather-covered textiles known from early tomb finds. The dominant pattern of slanting "T," pressed down upon the mold after the overall background stamps, corresponds to the modern Chinese character for shan (山 or mountain). Whether the pattern was symbolic or decorative during the Zhou Dynasty is unknown. The site of manufacture is probably south China, since many mirrors of this type have been excavated from tombs in that area.

See also
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 

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