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Important Art Object

Eight-Lobed Mirror with a design of luan (imaginary birds) and flowers


Period China, Tang dynasty, 8th century
Materials and techniques White copper
Size D.21.9


This is a classic example of the mirror shaped in an eight-petal flower. It is elaborately forged and the surface, though partially tarnished by greenish rust, still keeps its silvery luster. The cast work of the majestic pair of imaginary birds (luan) in the central circle underscores its decorative effect. The motif of a pair of auspicious birds holding ribbons in their beaks is typical of the Tang dynasty and the same motif is found among artifacts kept at Shōsōin, Imperial Repository. The lobed zone is decorated alternative with designs of cloud and flower. It is a flamboyant piece of Tang dynasty.

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