Mirror with dragons

Mirror, with one repair. Box. Glossy mottled black patina with areas of azurite on surface. In sharply cut low relief.

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Historical period(s)
Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 3rd century BCE
Diam x D: 23.5 x 1.2 cm (9 1/4 x 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Mirror


China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE)

From at least 1934 to 1935
C. T. Loo & Company, New York from at least December 1, 1934 [1]

From 1935
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company, New York on March 23, 1935 [2]


[1] See "List of objects owned by C. T. Loo, New York and [left by him] at the Gallery for examination on December 1, 1934," copy in object file.

[2] See C. T. Loo's invoice dated March 23, 1935, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948


Mirror, with one repair. Box. Glossy mottled black patina with areas of azurite on surface. In sharply cut low relief.


Four highly stylized dragon arabesques against a background of delicate tracery fill the main decorative zone. The small, fluted central boss and the concave rim with sharp outer edges are typical features of late Zhou dynasty mirrors.

Published References
  • Smithsonian Institution. Report of the Secretary, 1935. Washington, 1935-1936. pl. 2.
  • Martin J. Powers. Pattern and Person: Ornament, Society, and Self in Classical China. Harvard East Asia Monographs, no. 262 Cambridge, Massachusetts. .
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Art of the Warring States Period: Change and Continuity, 480-222 B.C. Washington, 1982-1983. cat. 41.
  • Bernhard Karlgren. Huai and Han. no. 13 Stockholm. pl. 11, C16.
  • Robert Dale Jacobsen. Inlaid Bronzes of Pre-Imperial China: A Classical Tradition and Its Later Revivals. 2 vols. Ann Arbor. pl. 318.
  • Sueji Umehara. Kan izen no kokyo no kenkyu [L'Etude sur le Miroir Anterieur a la Dynastie des Han]. Kyoto. p. 23.
  • Dagny Carter. Four Thousand Years of China's Art. New York. p. 45, c.
  • Compiled by the staff of the Freer Gallery of Art. A Descriptive and Illustrative Catalogue of Chinese Bronzes: Acquired During the Administration of John Ellerton Lodge. Oriental Studies Series, no. 3 Washington, 1946. p. 65, pl. 36.
  • Hsueh-chin Li. Several Shang, Chou Objects Collected in America and Australia. no. 12. pp. 72-76.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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