Eight-foiled Mirror

Heian period, 11th-12th century

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo, Japan

Following the example of Chinese bronze mirrors, mirrors have been produced in Japan since the Yayoi period. In the Nara period, many bronze mirrors (Tang mirrors) were brought in from Tang and the so-called Tang-style mirrors were actively cast using the Chinese mirrors as molds or modeling after them. In the Heian period, while still being based on the patterns of Tang mirrors, the representation of patterns became gentler and their composition became rotational.This mirror represents one of the Tang-style mirrors of the Heian period. It is cast in bronze and its exterior edge is in the shape of eight petals with a dividing line of the same shape separating the inside area from the outside area. In the inside area, there is a knob on a flower petal-shaped base in the center, around which two phoenixes and two auspicious flowers alternate. The outside area is decorated with an arabesque pattern.The shape and design composition of this mirror clearly demonstrate the characteristics of mirrors of the Heian period. At first glance, the phoenixes look like a pair of mandarin ducks, another popular motif and it is hard to distinguish between the two. With the excellent casting finish and clear patterns, this mirror is a valuable example of the mirrors of that time.


  • Title: Eight-foiled Mirror
  • Date Created: Heian period, 11th-12th century
  • Physical Dimensions: h150 mm
  • Object Title: 瑞花双鳳八稜鏡
  • Object Notes(Japanese): 中国製の銅鏡を模倣して、日本で造ることは、弥生時代から行われてきた。奈良時代には唐から数多くの銅鏡(唐鏡)がもたらされ、それを原型として鋳造したり、あるいは模倣した、いわゆる唐式鏡も盛んに制作された。平安時代になると唐鏡の文様をもとにしながら、表現はやわらかく、構図は旋回的となっていく。 この鏡は、そうした唐式鏡のひとつである。銅鋳造、外形を八稜形とし、同形の圏線で内区と外区にわける。内区には中央に花弁座の鈕をすえ、鈕をはさんで二羽の鳳凰と二箇の瑞花を配している。外区には唐草文様を連ねる。 形状・文様構成ともに平安時代の趣向をよく示している。鳳凰は一見、やはり好んで用いられた鴛鴦(おしどり)とも見え、明確な判別をしがたい。鋳上がり良く文様も鮮明であり、当時の代表的な鏡の好例として貴重である。
  • Object Date: 平安時代・11~12世紀
  • Type: Metalwork
  • External Link: http://www.emuseum.jp/detail/100456

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