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Star and Cloud Mirror

Study of the cosmos was popular in early China, especially during the Western Han dynasty, and artisans used many symbols to represent the universe, as seen on the back of this bronze mirror. The raised designs on the outer rim represent mountain ranges that reach to the sky. The central field contains rising and setting stars and planets, while the central knob represents the polar star. In ancient Chinese texts, raised circular star motifs are given various names, including "Star-and-Cloud" (Xing yun), "Strung Pearls" (Lian zhu), or "Hundred Nipples" (Bai ru).


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