A silvery bronze circular mirror, Tang dynasty (618-907)

Lot 1151. A silvery bronze circular mirror, Tang dynasty (618-907); ½ in. (14 cm.) diamEstimate USD 6,000 - USD 8,000. Price Realised USD 93,750. © Christie's Image Ltd 2013

The mirror is crisply cast in relief with motifs representing the Moon Palace including a large guihua (osmanthus) tree in the center, where part of its trunk forms the loop. To one side of the tree is Chang'e in the guise of an apsara holding an offering in flight above a toad, and to the other side is the hare pounding the elixir of longevity

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

LiteratureThe Raymond A. Bidwell Collection of Chinese Bronzes and Ceramics, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1965, pp. 58-59.

NoteThe imagery depicted on this mirror represents the Moon Palace, which is occupied by a hare that pounds the Elixir of Immortality at the foot of the osmanthus tree, and is also inhabited by Chang'e who stole the elixir from her husband Hou Yi. The toad represents the embodiment of Chang'e.

A very similar mirror is illustrated by Wang Shilun and Wang Mu in Zhejiang chutu tongjing (Bronze Mirrors Excavated from Zhejiang), Beijing 2006, black and white pl. 117. 

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