A rare parcel-gilt bronze octafoil mirror. Tang dynasty (618-907). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012
Of linghua (water chestnut flower) shape and crisply cast, the knob surrounded by four animals shown in lively positions as they frolic atop a flowering scroll within the raised inner edge of the outer band cast in the eight barbed lobes with alternating insects and foliate sprays, the animals and insects highlighted by gilding in contrast to the grey patina: 6 11/16 in. (17 cm.) across, ¼ in. (.5 cm.) thick, box - 494.5g. Estimate $15,000 - $25,000
Provenance: Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, New York, acquired in Hong Kong, 1990.
Notes: The four animals on this mirror are particularly expressive as they leap amidst the stems of the flower scroll. They are also unusual in the depiction of the tufts of hair detailing their legs, heads, bodies, and long tails. The unusual positions of some of the animals are similar to those seen in animals chased on the silver back of a bronze octalobed mirror (linghua type ) of Tang date, illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, Tang Mirrors, Sen-Oku Hakuko Kan, Kyoto, 2006, p. 43, no. 55.
Christie's. Luminous Perfection: Fine Chinese Mirrors from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, 22 March 2012, New York, Rockefeller Plaza