Skip to Content
Closed now, next open Thursday. Closed now, next open Thursday.

Mirror with Dragon Arabesques

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of bronze.


Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period or early Western Han dynasty, 3rd/2nd century B.C.



About this artwork

The mirror in ancient China, usually held by hand with a cord, was a thin bronze disk with one face polished to a reflective sheen. The backs of mirrors were cast with elegant and dynamic designs that often reflect then-contemporary textile designs. The ground of interlocking T’s on this mirror is known from textile finds as well as from impressions of deteriorated fabrics preserved in the surface corrosion of bronzes. Superimposed on, and contrasting with, this rectangular ground are flowing dragon- and bird-headed figures reminiscent of those seen in embroidered designs. The interplay of lines and curves is characteristic of the decorative art of the third and second centuries B.C.


On View, Gallery 132


Arts of Asia


Mirror with Dragon Arabesques


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.

299 BCE–100 BCE




Diam.: 20.8 cm (8 3/8 in.); Thickness: D.: 0.2 cm (3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Samuel M. Nickerson Fund

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.

Learn more.

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.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions