Mirror with geometric pattern, Western Zhou dynasty, 11th–10th century BC. Bronze, depth Ø 6 cm. National Gallery of Prague, Vp 1796.
The mirror’s physical property of reflecting images seems to be inferior to its magic and ritual roles in ancient China. A bronze mirror interred in a tomb was expected to protect the dead from evil and malignant forces and help guide his or her soul in the afterworld. Decorative motifs and inscriptions on mirrors often reflect cosmological meanings, symbols of the Heaven and Earth and other contemporary ideas.