Friday, March 23, 2012

Asian Civilisation Museum - Artefact 3 : Mirror

Artefact 3: Mirror (with cosmological decoration)

Period of time : China, 759

Material : Bronze

This artefact is a mirror with cosmological decoration in the Tang Dynasty.

Three differences to modern day version :

1. The material of the modern mirror is different from the Tang Dynasty mirror. The modern mirror is made of glass and a sheet of aluminum behind the glass. The Tang Dynasty mirror is made from bronze and was originally silvery, due to adding tin to bronze. Bronze and tin were materials used more commonly in the past by the Chinese, thus these materials were used to make mirrors. Another reason behind this is that bronze is stronger. It is also hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity.

2. The purpose of the mirrors are also different. The mirror made in the Tang Dynasty is a celebrated form called "Jiangxin" or "Yangxin" (Heart of the Yangzi). It is used to cast aboard a boat moored in the Yangzou Yangzi River. The modern version of the mirror is used to check the person's appearance. It is also used for personal grooming or admiring oneself.

3. The occasions that the mirrors were or are made in are also different in a way that the mirror made in the Tang Dynasty was made on the 29th day of the 11th month of the 1st day of the wuxu era according to its inscription. The wuxu era is of the Qianyuan reign of the Tang in Yangzhou in the midst of the Yangzi River. Now, many mirrors are manufactured everyday to be sent to various stores and sold to people.

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