China, Early Tang Dynasty / Mirror (Jing) / c. 700-750China, Early Tang Dynasty
Mirror (Jing)
c. 700-750

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Dates/Places: China
Creator Active Place: China
Creator Name-CRT: China, Early Tang Dynasty
Title: Mirror (Jing)
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 700
Creation End Date: 750
Creation Date: c. 700-750
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Metalwork
Materials and Techniques: bronze with lacquer inlaid with silver and gold sheets
Dimensions: Diameter: 19.2cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1973.74
Credit Line: Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund
Context: Metal mirrors with a smooth reflective surface and a decorated back were first fabricated in China during the Bronze Age. Decoration, customarily cast along with the mirror itself, is often arranged in concentric rings around the raised central knob that served as the handle. In the early eighth century, this long tradition of casting bronze mirrors was enriched by new kinds of decoration inspired by the luxury goods imported from Persia and western Asia over the fabled Silk Road. At that time, Chinese artisans began to use silver and gold to enrich their decorative designs. Perhaps the most impressive use of these precious materials occurs on mirrors inlaid with designs cut from extremely thin metal sheets. These delicate patterns were set in lacquer that had been spread across the bronze mirror back. When dry, the surface was smoothed and polished, and the inlays minutely detailed with a small chisel. This mirror, a rare surviving example of a fragile type, is the best preserved and finest example outside the Far East. Primary motifs, the phoenix and large floral sprays, are executed in chased silver sheets, while smaller blossoming flowers are portrayed in gold. The central medallion surrounding the knob is a rich combination of the two colored metals. Originally, this delicate object might have been kept in a similarly inlaid lacquer cosmetic box lined with padded silk for use by a lady of the court. K.W.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1973.74
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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