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Mirror with Handle in the Form of Papyrus Column, with Large Umbel

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Egyptian artisans showed unparalleled skill in using religious symbolism for the design and decoration of everyday objects such as mirrors. The elliptical shape of this polished bronze mirror is typical, representing the appearance of the sun as it rises over the horizon at dawn. The papyrus-inspired handle symbolizes the sun's emergence from the primordial swamp that marked the transition between this world and the afterlife while defining the landscape of creation. As the disk reflected sunlight, it implied the promise of daily renewal.

DATES ca. 2040-1801 B.C.E.
DYNASTY XI Dynasty - XII Dynasty
PERIOD Middle Kingdom
DIMENSIONS 9 1/4 x 4 15/16 in. (23.5 x 12.5 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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CAPTION Mirror with Handle in the Form of Papyrus Column, with Large Umbel, ca. 2040-1801 B.C.E. Bronze, 9 1/4 x 4 15/16 in. (23.5 x 12.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 05.321. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery A-1 installation, CUR.05.321_wwgA-1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
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Mirror with Handle in the Form of Papyrus Column, with Large Umbel