16 September 2010
AN UNUSUAL BRONZE SQUARE OPENWORK MIRROR BACK
MIDDLE/LATE WARRING STATES PERIOD, 4TH-3RD CENTURY BC
Cast as two pairs of addorsed long-tailed birds standing either side of a quatrefoil motif and the tiny central loop, within an outer border of scale-shaped cells and circles at the corners, with green patina; together with a small bronze mirror, late Warring States period, 3rd century BC, thinly cast, one side with a small ribbed loop encircled by two pairs of addorsed dragons with foliate bodies flanking and separated by formalized foliate motifs, within a scalloped border
2 3/8 in. (11 cm.) square; 3½ in. (9 cm.) diam., boxes (2)
First: acquired in Hong Kong, 1989.
Second: Frank Caro, New York, 1989.
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Ancient Chinese and Ordos Bronzes, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1990, no. 147.
The Glorious Traditions of Chinese Bronzes, Singapore, 2000, no. 62 and 61, respectively.
Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2002-2006.
The square ornate mirror back would have been part of a layered or 'double-tier' mirror (jiaceng-jing). The open areas would have contrasted with either the different alloy of the mirror or perhaps lacquer applied to the back of the mirror, while the cells would have been inlaid with colorful hardstones. A very similar square 'double-tier' mirror of Warring States date excavated in 1988 in Luoyang, Henan province, is illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji - 16 - Bronze Mirrors, Beijing, 1998, p. 18, no. 18.
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