選單圖示選單圖示

National Palace Museum

Reflections of the Emperor: The Collection and Culture of Mirrors at the Qing Court

In ancient China, the mirror was a precious instrument for examining a person's appearance. In addition to tidying dress and head ornaments, the ancients associated the bright shine of a burnished bronze mirror with the sun and moon, and the mirror gradually became a religious instrument considered capable of avoiding and expelling inauspicious things. The reflective property of mirrors likewise turned it into a historical metaphor for looking into the past as a way to understand the present. The ancient Chinese cast mirrors out of bronze, burnishing the flat side to make it shiny while decorating the back with various patterns. With their craftsmanship and aesthetics changing over the ages, mirrors evolved into an important medium expressing the artistic spirit of the period in which they were made; they thereby became highly treasured. In the Qing dynasty, the court amassed a particularly rich collection of ancient mirrors. This exhibition catalogue details the appreciation, mounting, and use of mirrors by members of the Qing imperial court. The exhibition catalogue introduces a selection of ancient mirrors from the Han to Ming dynasties that were once in the Qing imperial collection. A continuous development of bronze mirrors over nearly two millennia is presented and the understanding of and comments by ancient rulers concerning antique mirrors are included. Next, mirror cases and accessories such as the "Xiqing xujian" and the "Ningshou xujian" in the National Palace Museum collection and manufactured by the court of the Qianlong emperor are displayed. Readers will not only be able to appreciate the form and beauty of these album-style cases, but also trace the background to the production of these mirror cases. In the section "Adorning the Beauty in Mirrors: Reflections of Mirrors in Life," how ancient mirrors functioned and adorned everyday life is shown and the development of glass mirrors in the Qing court is presented.
Reflections of the Emperor: The Collection and Culture of Mirrors at the Qing Court
Reflections of the Emperor: The Collection and Culture of Mirrors at the Qing Court