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Lot 8091. A cast bronze mirror, Eastern Han dynasty. Sold for US$ 5,625 (€5,161). Photo Bonhams.

The crisply cast mirror centered by a domical knob within a stylized starburst pattern, the remaining concentric bands including geometric patterns, six mythical beasts separated by conical bosses, and a twenty-six character inscription beginning Han you shan tong chu dan yang; all surrounded by the raised relief rim adorned with a shallow relief band of additional lithe and scrolling mythical beasts. 6 1/2in (16.5cm) diameter

Provenancepurchased in Shanghai 1941-1944 and brought to the United States in 1947

NotesA TLV mirror in the same style and bearing the same inscription (but with an additional two characters) in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, is published as plate 42 in Anneliese Bulling, The Decoration of Mirrors of the Han Period: a Chronology, 1960. 

A mirror more broadly dated as Han dynasty, also with a similar inscription, is published as cat. no. 42, pp. 142-143 in Toru Nakano Bronze Mirrors from Ancient China: the Donald H. Graham Jr. Collection, 1994. In addition to the inscription, the unusual and difficult-to-recognize animal motifs are reminiscent of the present lot. Indeed, Nakano avoids definitively identifying some of the animals on the Graham example, and further notes that the remaining deer and bears are 'an unusual design for a mirror.'

Bonhams. CHINESE, INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN WORKS OF ART AND PAINTINGS, 10 Dec 2015 10:00 PST - SAN FRANCISCO