A silvery bronze circular mirror with animals and inscription. Early Tang dynasty, 7th century. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012  

The thick mirror finely cast in high relief with six lively animals set between a bead border encircling the knob and outer sawtooth bands on the inner wall of the ridge which separates them from an inscription and further sawtooth bands below the raised edge, with areas of malachite encrustation; 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm.) diameter, 3/8 in. (1 cm.) thick, box  460.8g - Estimate $12,000 - $18,000

初唐 照日菱花出銘神獸紋鍍銀銅鏡

Provenance: Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, New York, acquired from Alice Boney, Japan, 1960s. 

Notes: Compare the mirror of this type, also with six frolicking animals and an inscription, but with a different border around the knob and a diaper rather than sawtooth bands on the rim, illustrated by Ju-hsi Chou in Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2000, p. 65, no. 51. Another of slightly larger size (13.6 cm.) with four rather than six animals, but otherwise similar decorative bands, is illustrated inTang Jing, Japan, no. 12. 

 Christie's.Luminous Perfection: Fine Chinese Mirrors from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, 22 March 2012, New York, Rockefeller Plaza