Collecting Masterpieces
Photo of bronze-mirror-buffalos-and-felines-heads-dian-kingdom-han-dynasty-galerie-golconda


Asia Central - South and East


Object :
Nº 1586
Medium :
Dimensions :
Diam: 14 cm (5.5’’)
Bibliography :
Published in "Collecting Masterpieces" Part One by Beryl Cavallini, page 160 - 161

Oxidised bronze mirror in the shape of a disk with a button handle surrounded by a seven branches star in its centre. The background of the mirror is divided into squares with floral motif and stylised animals in relief. The rim is decorated with twelve moulded buffalo heads surmounted by the heads of felines devouring them. A hook has been placed on the back. Excellent green patina.

The Dian culture dates back to the Bronze Age, and owes its name to Lake Dian in Yunnan, on the banks of which the kingdom was situated. These people worked metal in a sophisticated fashion, using moulding and lost wax techniques. Depictions of bovines are a recurrent motif in Dian iconography, just like the animal fights which are another of their favourite themes. Discovered in 1954, Dian tombs contained many bronze objects. It's thought that this culture ended in the year 110, after an earthquake which ravaged the area. The use of mirrors in ancient China dates back to an ancestral tradition: not only destined for grooming, they also had ritual, medical or talismanic functions. This disk-shaped mirror is made of bronze, its centre is embellished by a raised central knob, which is surrounded by a seven-armed star. The back of the mirror is criss-crossed with stylised floral and animal motifs in relief. The mirror's outer edge is decorated with a series of twelve moulded buffalo heads, crowned by feline heads which are devouring them. The back of the mirror bears a hook.