The inscription on the mirror, nei qing yi X guang zhi X re yue guang zhi, is an abridged version of a full text that can be translated, 'Its inner purity is in perfect illumination, its light is the image of the sun and moon, one's heart experiences uplift and is keen to be loyal, yet it is obstructed and unable to express it.' Ju-hsi Chou in Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2000, p. 36, refers to mirrors with this inscription as "illumination" mirrors, and discusses the manner in which the inscription is written, with characters sometimes left out, and the use of the spacer er to make the inscription appear longer. Mirrors of this type appear to have been popular during the Western Han period.
The inscription on the cover of the cloth box reads: 'the sun and moon mirror of the Han dynasty,' followed by 'the best of the best' on the side and Chunzhai below. The inscription on the inside of the cover states that the mirror was acquired at a market in Nanjing in the tenth month of 1921. The inscription on the underside of the inner removable cover mentions the use of the spacer er in the inscription and praises the fine quality of both the inscription and the motifs on the mirror. This is accompanied by a seal of Xu Hanqing, reading Xu Fubing hao Hanqing bie zi Chunzhai zhen cang (the collection of Xu Fubing, whose art name is Hanqing and style name is Chunzhai).