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Bronze mirror


Diameter: 12.900 cm (excluding jingles)

Gift of William Gowland

Asia JA OA+544

Rooms 92-94: Japan

    Bronze mirror

    From Japan
    Middle Kofun period, 5th century AD

    Jingles and rattles are found on mirrors of the Kofun period (about 3rd -7th century AD). They possibly had some shamanistic ritual significance, but it was a fashion that quickly died out. One of the rattles on this mirror still sounds when it is shaken.

    The craftsmen of the Kofun period copied very formal Chinese-style decoration. The surface of the mirror has concentric rings of simple hatching with a softer whorl design in the centre.

    As mound burials for leaders became more widespread, grave-goods almost always contained a set of mirror, sword and jewel - all symbols of authority, and objects with powerful ritual significance. The mirror, sword and jewel still form the regalia of the Japanese Imperial family.

    L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


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    On display: Rooms 92-94: Japan

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