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Bronze Mirrors

The Bronze Mirrors were for daily use in ancient times of China. Before the popularity of the bronze mirrors, people reflected their faces by filling a basin with water. The bronze mirrors have one shiny reflective side and a decorative side with flowers and characters carved, which provides important reference for the study of ancient decoration patterns. The craft and art characteristics of bronze mirrors vary in different time period. There are several time periods in the Chinese history for the initiation and innovation of the bronze mirrors, among which the most important ones are the Warring States Period (475-221BC), the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), and the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Bronze Mirrors of the Warring States Period

The Bronze Mirrors of the Warring States Period can be divided into two categories of the north and the south, according to different decorations. With few decorations, the North Bronze Mirrors are plain and small in number, whilst the South Bronze Mirrors are delicate and large in number but with many decorations. The Bronze Mirrors of the Warring States Period are mainly round ones, decorated by double layer lines of mountains, animals, flowers and leave.

Bronze Mirrors of the Han Dynasty

The Han Dynasty is a key period for the development of the bronze mirror techniques. The bronze mirror developed into a key product of the metal craft in the Han Dynasty, which were excellently designed and had a variety of patterns. The central government of the Han Dynasty designated particular officials to administrate the production of Bronze Mirrors. The production of bronze mirrors made up a large proportion in the total bronze production in the Han Dynasty. The bronze mirrors in the Han Dynasty has the largest variety and with the most excellent representatives. Thin and smooth, with knob at the center of the decorative side and elegant decorative lines, the bronze mirrors of the Han Dynasty are treasures of the ancient fine arts of China.

Bronze Mirrors of the Tang Dynasty

The Tang Dynasty is another peak period for the development of the bronze mirrors. Bronze mirrors were very popular in the Tang Dynasty due to the improvement of the metal casting techniques and the improvement of people's lives. Thick and delicately decorated, the bronze mirrors of the Tang Dynasty were as pure as silver with more tin in the raw materials. Besides the round pattern, there were new patterns like the rhombus pattern and sunflower pattern, etc. According to the decorative lines, the bronze mirrors of the Tang Dynasty can be divided into several categories: mirrors with flower and bird, with phoenix, with fortunate animal, with dragon and with human figures. In addition, the popularization of Taoism in the Tang Dynasty was also reflected by the mirrors with Eight Trigrams. The production of the bronze mirror had declined since the Tang Dynasty.

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