A silvery bronze mirror, Sui dynasty (581-618)

Lot 1149. A silvery bronze mirror, Sui dynasty (581-618); 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm.) diam. Estimate USD 10,000 - USD 15,000. Price Realised USD 37,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2013

The back has a central knob encircled by narrow petal and stamen borders surrounded by six floral roundels separated by foliate arabesques within narrow dogtooth borders and an outer inscription encircled by further decorative borders. 

Provenance: Raymond A. Bidwell (1876-1954) Collection.
The Springfield Museums, Springfield, Massachusetts, accessioned in 1962.

NoteThis type of mirror is known as baoxianghua (flowers of precious appearance). A similar mirror of slightly smaller size (16.5 cm. diam.) is illustrated in Ancient Bronze Mirrors in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 2005, pp. 218-19, no. 71, where it is mentioned that similar mirrors were excavated around Kaifeng, Henan province, in the 1930s. Another similar mirror of slightly smaller size (6 9/16 in.) from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection was sold at Christies New York, 22 March 2012, lot 1439. The flower medallions on these types of mirrors are discussed by J. Rawson and E. Bunker in Ancient Chinese and Ordos Bronzes, Oriental Ceramic Society, Hong Kong, pp. 258-59, no. 178, where they note that the flower medallions are related to Sui and Tang textile designs as well as to "canopy patterns developed for ornamenting Buddhist caves, such as those at Dunhuang in Gansu province." 

Christie'sFine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 21 - 22 March 2013, New York, Rockefeller Plaza