Circular, Wide Image-Band Decorative Knob, Deity, and Beast Mirror

Unknown5th Century

Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds

Museum of the Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds
Saitama prefecture , Japan

This mirror’s name derives from its decorative patterns and shapes: It contains a wide image-band (gamontai) that depicts animals such as dragons, turtles, and tigers around its circular (kanjō) outer edge, and eight decorative knobs (nyū), four deities (shin), and four beasts (jū) in the center region of the mirror (kyō). Combined, these features form the overall piece, Gamontai-Kanjō-Nyū-Shinjūkyō, which is thought to reflect ancient Chinese philosophy and mythology. Part of the mirror is colored red, and faint traces of a cloth cover also remain on the piece.


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