Small Bronze Japanese Mirror - Oriental Zodiac Calender - Ram

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  • Item Category: Ethnic, Folk & Native American Art
  • Source: eBay UK
  • Sold Date: Jan 08, 2012
  • Channel: Auction House
Small Bronze Japanese Mirror - Oriental Zodiac Calender - Ram

Stunning bronze Japanese mirror measuring 4.5cm x 4.5cm. This bronze mirror has a lovely verdigris patina. The back is decorated with a scene showing a ram, one of the twelve zodiac animals. It has a central boss which originally would have been pierced to allow a cord to be passed through for holding, this is now clogged due to the items age. The other side is undecorated and would have originally been polished to create a reflective surface.

Bronze mirrors were introduced into Japan from China and Korea during the Yayoi period (about 300 BC - AD 300). At first they had a religious function and were regarded as symbols of authority. The Japanese soon learnt to make their own mirrors using the lost-wax technique, decorating them with Chinese or native Japanese designs.

By the Nara period (AD 710 -794) mirrors were being made for everyday use, with the increasing use of Japanese designs, such as native plants and animals symbolising good fortune. From the Kamakura period (1185-1333) a design showing Horaizan (the Chinese 'Island of Immortality') became popular.

Mirrors gradually became more robust. They mostly have a central boss, often in the shape of a tortoise, which was pierced and a cord passed through for holding. More new designs and the
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