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Mirror with a Handle in the Form of a Female Figure

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.

Date:

3rd century BCE

Artist:

Etruscan

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.

Status

On View, Gallery 153

Department

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Artist

Ancient Etruscan

Title

Mirror with a Handle in the Form of a Female Figure

Origin

Etruria

Date

300 BCE–201 BCE

Medium

Bronze

Dimensions

33.7 × 17.3 × 3.2 cm (13 1/4 × 6 3/4 × 1 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Anonymous loan

Reference Number

86.2011

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/213732/manifest.json

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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