Mirror with Papyrus Handle Featuring Two Ibex Heads
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Special Exhibitions, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The Egyptians associated mirrors with female sexuality and rebirth. Women needed mirrors to apply cosmetics and style their hair. Mirrors were thereby intimately connected with the eroticism that led to rebirth.
Mirrors were also a symbol of cosmic creation. The disc of the mirror on a papyrus-plant handle symbolized the moment when the creator-god emerged from the primordial swamp in the form of the sun. Creation then subdued the chaos of the deserts, here represented by the two ibex heads. This symbolic depiction of the original creation served as an aid to the self’s re-creation in the tomb.
ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E.
Other (handle): 4 3/16 x 3 9/16 x 13/16 in. (10.7 x 9 x 2 cm)
Other (disk): 4 1/8 x 3 3/4 x 5/16 in. (10.5 x 9.5 x 0.8 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Mirror with Papyrus Handle Featuring Two Ibex Heads, ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E. Bronze, Other (handle): 4 3/16 x 3 9/16 x 13/16 in. (10.7 x 9 x 2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 75.168a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 75.168a-b_front_PS4.jpg)
front, 75.168a-b_front_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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Bronze mirror in two parts; papyriform handle ends in an umbel topped with two ibex heads, facing out; their horns meet in the center. A rectangular socket in the handle received the trapezoidal tenon from the disk itself which is ellipsoid in shape.
Condition: Scratched and in several areas on both handle and disk with bronze disease.
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