Compare the very similar mirror of comparable large size (27.6 cm.) illustrated by Ju-hsi Chou, Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2000, pp. 72-3, no. 65. Both this mirror and the present mirror would have been presented as wedding gifts. Fenghuang (phoenix) is a combination of characters for the male and female animal, and so the two phoenixes would represent a couple. A pair of phoenixes also symbolizes happiness in marriage, and the silk cords grasped in their beaks represent longevity. Both the xiniu and the qilin are mythical creatures. In the context of this design the xiniu may symbolize true love between the couple. Like fenghuang, qilin is a combination of the characters for the male and female animal, so here the qilin may represent the couple, and the wish for a son or sons, as the qilin is supposed to appear just before the birth of a great sage.