skip to Main Content

Lobed Bronze Mirror with

“Celestial Horses”


Diameter: 23.3 cm. (9 1/8 in.)

Tang dynasty 唐
8th century

Provenance: an American collection

The mirror is heavily cast with the main decoration inset within an eight-lobed rim. A pair of confronting horses balance on lotus blossoms emerging from lotus leaves on entwined stems. The steeds rear back, each extending a front leg, which is undercut, a very unusual detail. Above the horses is a pair of geese in flight carrying lotus in their beaks. The rim is cast with alternating clouds and streaming lotus stems.

In the arts of the Tang the horse is a noble, fiery and wonderful creature and in mirrors they take to the skies and assume the power to float on flowers. The great rarity of mirrors with this compelling celestial horse décor is noted by both the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Shanghai Museum, where related mirrors are held.1

1. See The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Bronze Articles for Daily Use, Hong Kong, 2007, p. 197 and in Ancient Bronze Mirrors from the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 2005, p. 232.

Back To Top