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Mirror with Lion and Grapevine Decorations
Tang dynasty (618-907)
Diameter 17.6 cm

The casting of mirrors in the Tang dynasty was exceptionally fine, and they often featured decora­tion with a foreign flavor. This mirror with lions and grape vines is an important example of such works. The lions on this mirror are all in unique postures. The insects and birds cavort between the lions and the grapevines, flowing with a beautiful and uninterrupted symmetry. This mirror presents a combination of West Asian animal and plant decorations with a Chinese style of mirror. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty had an exquisite book shaped mirror case specially made to store this piece. The inside of the case was painted with a realist depic­tion of the design on the mirror. Such a realistic style represents a new influx of influence from west.
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