Lobed mirror with birds, animals, and floral scrolls, China, early or mid-Tang dynasty, late 7th–first half of 8th century

Lobed mirror with birds, animals, and floral scrolls, China, early or mid-Tang dynasty, late 7th–first half of 8th century. Cast bronze and applied silver plaque with repoussé, chased, and ring-punched decoration and mercury gilding. Purchase, Freer Gallery of Art, F1954.22 © 2017 Smithsonian Institution

Mirrors were durable treasures. When not in use, mirrors such as this, backed with an elaborately decorated silver plaque, may have been protected in silk wrappers. Traces of fabric impressions are still visible on the raised bronze rim of the mirror.