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Star and Cloud Mirror

Asian Art

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).

  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.
    DYNASTY Western Han Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 7/8 x 6 1/16 in. (2.2 x 15.4 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Asian Art Council
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Star and Cloud Mirror, 206 B.C.E.-220 C.E. Bronze, 7/8 x 6 1/16 in. (2.2 x 15.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council, 1992.82. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 1992.82_transp4479.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    Star and Cloud Mirror