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Mirror with Images of Daoist Deities

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.


Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE),
2nd or 3rd century CE


probably from Zhejiang province

About this artwork

Mirrors of the Han dynasty were designed to procure blessings of longevity for the living and to guide the soul of the deceased toward immortal bliss. The images cast on the back of this mirror figured prominently in the quest for immortality that pervaded Han China. Two venerated deities that were later incorporated into the Taoist pantheon—the Queen Mother of the West (Xi Wang Mu) and the King Father of the East (Dong Wang Kong)—are seated opposite the central knob. Each is attended by immortals, identified by their whisks. Horse-drawn chariots may be interpreted as vehicles to escort the soul on its journey between this world and the next.


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Arts of Asia


Mirror with Images of Daoist Deities


China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

100 CE–299 CE




20.6 × 0.6 cm (8 1/8 × 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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