Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Avraham Hay

Mirror; back decorated with birds and scrolling vines
Tang dynasty (618–906)
Bronze, inlaid with mother-of-pearl in lacquer
Diam: 14 cm
Gift of Frederick M. Mayer, New York, through America-Israel Cultural Foundation
Accession number: B62.01.1092
Bronze mirrors have been found in tombs dating back as far as 3,500 years ago. The back of the mirror lent itself to decoration – whether designs featuring dragons, mythological figures, and cosmological symbols, or sumptuous inlay in mother-of-pearl, gold, and silver. The knob at the center had a silk tassel that was used to hold the mirror. Over time the bronze darkened, but when they were new, these mirrors shone like gold.

The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir