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Lobed Mirror with Heaven and Earth between the Paired Phoenixes

Lobed Mirror with Heaven and Earth between the Paired Phoenixes

雙鳳上圓下方葵花鏡

mid to late 700s

Bronze

Diameter: 22.5 cm (8 7/8 in.); Overall: 1.1 cm (7/16 in.); Rim: 0.7 cm (1/4 in.)

Gift of Drs. Thomas and Martha Carter in Honor of Sherman E. Lee 1995.351

Fun Fact

This mirror contains cosmological symbolism with heaven represented by a large circle at top and earth by a square at bottom.

Description

This mirror bears an important inscription as well as symbolic imagery of the Eight Trigrams and Heaven and Earth to express the ancient Chinese cosmological ideas. The inscription reads:
Circle above and square below:
These are symbolic of heaven and earth.
In the middle are the Eight Trigrams.
Making clear [the forces of] yin and yang.
Stars and constellations are well aligned;
The sun and the moon are virtuous and bright.
Circulating around [the earth] is water,
Giving identity to the Four Great Rivers.
Within are the mountain ranges,
To signify the lordly heights.

See also

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