Lot 1410. A large silvery bronze circular 'TLV' mirror with inscription, Late Western Han-Xin dynasty, 1st century BC. Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 80,000Price realised USD 104,500 © Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

The central knob rising from an ornate quatrefoil within a square enclosing twelve small nipples alternating with twelve characters representing the Twelve Branches, the main field with somewhat abbreviated TLV patterns as well as eight nipples separating the Guardians of the Four Directions - the Blue Dragon, Red Bird, White Tiger and the Dark Warrior - as well as other figures of animals and birds cast in thread relief, all within an inscription expressing Daoist concepts, a hatchured band, and bands of sawtooth and flowing cloud design on the rim - 12½ in. (31.7 cm.) diam., ¼ in. (.5 cm.) thick, box - 3520.6g

Provenance: Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, New York, acquired in Hong Kong, 1989

NoteThe decoration on this elaborate TLV mirror, which is unusually large for its type, is derived from the layout of Qin and Han dynasty luibo game boards. The decoration is similar to that seen on smaller mirrors, one of which bears the same thirty-three character inscription, and is illustrated in Ancient Bronze Mirrors from the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 2005, pp. 164-5, no. 45. Another similar mirror of smaller size (21 cm.) with the same ornate quatrefoil surround for the knob is in the Sumitomo Collection and illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, Chinese Bronze Mirrors, Sen-Oku Hakuko Kan, 8 January - 6 March 2011, p. 25, no. 37. See, also, the smaller example in the Lagrelius Collection, Stockholm, illustrated by B. Karlgren, "The Exhibition of Early Chinese Bronzes", BMFEA, Stockholm, 1934, No. 6, pl. LII (1). One with silvery patina (18.9 cm.) is illustrated by Toru Nakano et al., Bronze Mirrors from Ancient China: Donald H. Graham Jr. Collection, 1994, pp. 140-1.

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