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Hand Mirror

A work made of copper alloy.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of copper alloy.


New Kingdom, Dynasty 18 (about 1550–1295 BCE)



About this artwork

The round disk of this hand mirror was originally polished to a reflective sheen. The elegant shape of the handle references papyrus plants that grew in Egypt’s marshy regions. Together, the handle and disk evoke an image of the sun rising from a papyrus umbel (flower cluster), a symbol of the sun’s daily regeneration. The ancient Egyptian words for mirror and life are homonyms, so this object’s shape also playfully refers to the ankh hieroglyph used to write both words.


On View, Gallery 50


Arts of Africa


Ancient Egyptian


Hand Mirror


Egypt (Object made in)

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.

1550 BCE–1295 BCE


Copper alloy


20 × 10.3 × 2.2 cm (7 7/8 × 4 1/16 × 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Henry H. Getty and Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number


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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Extended information about this artwork

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