Mirror with hare and toad - ROM2005_3969_3


Mirror with hare and toad

Medium:Cast bronze
Geography: China
Date: 618-907 AD
Period: Tang Dynasty
0.9 x 15.1 cm
Object number: 929.11.162
Credit Line: Bishop William C. White Collection
On view
Gallery Location:Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of China

The typical bronze Chinese mirror was round, with its flat, reflecting face polished to produce a reflection of near-glass clarity, and the reverse was decorated in one way or another about a central loop or knob. Tang dynasty mirrors were sheer luxury objects with elegant designs. They had lost any religious or magical meaning that might still have adhered to them during the Han era.

The figures on this mirror according to Chinese mythology all live on the moon. The hare standing by the cassia tree is pounding the herb of immortality. This was stolen from Xiwangmu (the Queen Mother of the West) by Chang'e, the wife of the archer Houyi, who shot down the nine false suns that were threatening to burn up the earth. Chang'e had to flee to the moon, where she was changed into a toad.

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