Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

An Ancient Chinese Bronze Mirror - Relief of  Two Carps

An Ancient Chinese Bronze Mirror - Relief of Two Carps

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Metalwork: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1279130

Please refer to our stock # 40 when inquiring.
This is a very old Chinese bronze mirror - the top with relief designs of two carp circling the top of the mirror. There is a small round knob in the center on the top with a hole in it where a cord would have been inserted for using the mirror. The polished side has some discoloration but very little verdigris. The piece is 3.9" diameter and is .3" " thick - it weighs 120 Gm (4.2 oz). It is almost impossible to state the age of the mirror - it has a very thick coating of verdigris over the entire top of the piece. It could date as old as the Chinese Warring States period time, 475-221 BC, or as late as the Tang dynasty (618- 906). Most Chinese bronze / Shaman mirrors are round, but square and rectangular mirrors were also produced. The back of these mirrors were decorated while the front of the mirrors were finely polished creating the mirror surface.

The fish most often depicted in Asian painting is the carp or the Koi which belongs to the family of the carp. This fish symbolizes longevity because carps can get very old and at the same time, the big scales on the body of a carp somehow remind of the skin of a dragon. The carp fish is a commonly seen visual pun because the Chinese character for carp (li 鲤) is pronounced the same as both the character (li 利) for "profit" and the character (li 力) for "strength" or "power". The carp is also a symbol for an abundance of children because it produces many eggs. A pair of carp symbolizes a harmonious marriage.