About this artwork
In Etruria, bronze mirrors were luxury objects designed primarily for women, who were buried with them for use in the afterlife. The front of the bronze disk would have been highly polished in order to reflect the viewer’s image. This example has a handle in the form of a winged Lasa, a minor deity associated with Turan, the Etruscan goddess of love. Lasa holds an alabastron (container for scented oil) in her left hand. Because Lasa is thought to have been associated with funerary rites, the alabastron might evoke the ceremonial anointing of the dead.
An image of Eros, the god of love, is engraved on the back of this reflective disk. Eros was a fitting subject for bronze mirrors, which were given primarily to women, likely as wedding presents. Here, with hammer firmly in hand, Eros stands among carpentry tools, including a second hammer, an adze, a double axe, a chisel, and possibly a double saw. On the left is an amphora (storage jar) and a table. The significance of this unusual scene is not yet understood, but its selection might reflect the Etruscan taste for obscure and rarely illustrated mythological episodes.
- Ancient Etruscan
- Mirror with a Handle in the Form of a Female Figure
- 300 BCE–201 BCE
- 33.7 × 17.3 × 3.2 cm (13 1/4 × 6 3/4 × 1 1/4 in.)
- Anonymous loan