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Octafoil-shaped Mirror Featuring Ci Fei, the Dragon Slayer

Octafoil-shaped Mirror Featuring Ci Fei, the Dragon Slayer

900s-1300s

Bronze

Diameter: 17.2 cm (6 3/4 in.); Overall: 1.1 cm (7/16 in.); Rim: 0.5 cm (3/16 in.)

Gift of Drs. Thomas and Martha Carter in Honor of Sherman E. Lee 1995.376

Description

The mythical hero Ci Fei and his victory in the Yangzi River delta is depicted on this eight-lobed mirror. He raises his sword in order to attack sea monsters. On the top, a large inscription in seal script reads “Great and Resplendent is the Heaven.” The mirror is thought to be a Chinese work dating to the Jin dynasty (1115–1234).

Recent excavation reports, however, reveal that this particular type was exclusively unearthed from Goryeo period Korean tombs. Scholars speculate that this Chinese epic was appropriated to celebrate the heroic ancestry of the Goryeo ruling house; this type of mirror was widely distributed as a token of power among the Goryeo elite.

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