Mirror with "TLV" Pattern

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.

Date:

Eastern Han dynasty (A.D. 25–220), c. 1st century A.D.

Artist:

China

About this artwork

The design of this mirror reflects principles of ancient Chinese cosmology that envisioned a circular universe enclosing a square earth. Within the border of the square are characters denoting the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The marks resembling T, L, and V correspond to patterns on an instrument used by Han dynasty diviners to foretell the future. This mirror was designed to place its owner at the center of the cosmos, a favorable position symbolically protected by the Animals of the Four Directions—the Green Dragon of the East, the Red Bird of the South, the White Tiger of the West, and the Black Warrior (tortoise and snake) of the North.

On View

Asian Art, Gallery 133

Title

Mirror with "TLV" Pattern

Origin

China

Date

25 AD–220 AD

Medium

Bronze

Dimensions

Diam. 21.0 cm (8 1/4 in.); thickness 0.5 cm (3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Samuel M. Nickerson Endowment

Reference Number

1932.48

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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