A similar 'curiosity' mirror was offered at Christie's London, 15 May 2007, lot 34.
At first glance this exceptionally rare item appears to be an intricately carved dark wood cabinet with a round mirror on the front. The elaborate, high relief, carving, which depicts buildings, waves and clouds, is reminiscent of the well-carved furniture that was sent from Guangdong as tribute to the court in the 18th century. Closer inspection of the buildings in the upper quarter of the piece, however, reveals that two moon-shaped 'windows' are in fact glazed, and invite the viewer to look inside. On looking through the left window the viewer sees a stage with figures in European dress, an arch and several sets of wings, which give an appearance of recession to the scene. The right window encloses European figures in rowing boats and sailing vessels, all set up to create a sense of depth.
From the back of the cabinet it is possible to see the five layers of scenery. The impression when looking through the 'windows' in the front of the cabinet is of seeing a miniature version of an 18th century theatre - of the kind that has survived to this day in a few European palaces, such as Ludwigsburger Castle near Stuttgart in Germany. The whole construction of this viewing cabinet has been beautifully crafted to give full effect to the optical illusion it offers the viewer, and must have delighted its intended recipient.