Mirror with geometric decoration

Historical period(s)
Late Eastern Zhou, Warring States, or early Western Han dynasty, 3rd-2nd century BCE
Diam x D: 19.1 x 1.2 cm (7 1/2 x 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Mirror


casting, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), Warring States period (475 - 221 BCE), Western Han dynasty (206 BCE - 9 CE), WWII-era provenance

Mrs. Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941), New York and "The Chimneys," Sands Point, Port Washington, Long Island [1]

From at least 1944
Tonying and Company, New York, New York from at least February 1944 [2]

From 1944
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Tonying and Company, New York on February 7, 1944 [3]


[1] According to information provided by Tonying & Company, see Tonying and Company’s invoice, dated February 7, 1944, copy in object file.

[2] See Tonying & Company’s invoice, dated February 7, 1944, in which the mirror figures under no. B. 156: “Cricular Bronze Mirror, with design of Sun and Sunray; beautiful green patina / Chin,” copy in object file. The acquisition was approved by C. G. Abbot, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, on February 4, 1944, see “List of Objects Contemplated for Purchase by the Freer Gallery of Art,” copy in object file.

[3] See invoice cited in note 2. See also A. G. Wenley’s letter to C. F. Yau, Tonying & Co., dated February 5, 1944, in which Wenley confirms the purchase of the mirror along with seven other mirrors from the Holmes collection (see records for F1944.3-F1944.8, F1944.10).

Previous Owner(s)

Tonying and Company
Mrs. Christian R. Holmes 1871 - 1941


The main decorative zone of this mirror contains a design of joined arcs set against a background of fine tracery. Marks from the clay mold in which the mirror was cast are visible around the central boss. Transition lines from the stamps used to produce the mold are visible in the tracery background.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum