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Bronze, partially gilt
Diameter: 11.3 cm (4 7/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1972.66
Athena, the virgin goddess of war and craft, rarely appears on mirrors.
The ancient Greek box mirror resembles a modern, hinged makeup compact in design. While the actual mirror is the top of the bottom half of the box—a highly polished cast-bronze disk—the cover often bears relief decoration. This example features a helmeted head of Athena, a virgin war goddess not typically associated with implements of beauty. Several other aspects suggest that this Athena may have been repurposed from another object in antiquity: the striking difference in patina between relief and case; the irregular (noncircular) shape; and the method of attachment, with rivets through the relief rather than solder.
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