Mirror with felines

Historical period(s)
Sui dynasty, 581-618
Diam x D: 19.3 x 1.5 cm (7 5/8 x 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Mirror


casting, cat, China, inscription, Sui dynasty (581 - 618)

Yamanaka and Company, New York 1930 [1]

From 1930
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Yamanaka and Company, New York in 1930 [2]


[1] Object file, undated folder sheet. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Yamanaka and Co. 1917 - 1965


The bronze has the bright silvery color associated with Sui and Tang mirrors. The inscription is a poem of thirty-six graphs, a rhymed riddle for which the answer is "mirror." It praises the mirror for its beauty, compares it to the moon, and refers to the legendary mirror of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, which exposed unfaithful concubines. The content of the inscription shows the increase of secular subjects on mirrors of the Sui and Tang.

Published References
  • Nancy Thompson. The Evolution of the T'ang Lion and Grapevine Mirror. vol. 29, no. 1 Washington and Zurich. pp. 25-54, fig. 9.
  • Shensi-sheng ch'u-t'u t'ung-ching. Peking. p. 115, pl. 105.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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