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Japanese mirror

Description

Circular metal mirror with handle [.1] in original black lacquer fitted box [.2ab].

Details

Maker
unknown
Inscriptions
"Answer to Query 2386. The magic mirror/is an honored object in every Japanese house-/hold. It is of mythologic origin, and sym-/bolizes the "soul of woman" as the sword/symbolizes the "soul of man." It consists of /a circular plate of bronze, from three to/twelve inshes in diameter, polished on the/face with mercury amalgam, and stamped on/the back with a pictorial design and and motto in/relief. On looking into the face of the mir-/ror no signs of this pattern on the back can/be seen; but when a light is reflected from/the face of the mirror on a screen, the design/on the former becomes strangely/visible on the screen. According to Profes-/sor Ayrton, the explanation of this magical/effect lies in the fact that the bronze of which/the mirror is composed has the property of so/contorting itself that its face is really mis-/shapen by the relieved pattern on the back, and in such a way that, when a strong light/is reflected from the face, it dimly reveals/the pattern to view. The two women with "butterfly wings"/may be regarded as symbolical...soul/plumed for its flight. The stor.....Jap-/anese symbol of returning......./budding life. It is a sacred bi.....the/Japanese and some other people.....the/former it is often associated with the plum-/tree blossom in artistic designs./H.K.W." (Printed in black ink on paper)
Material
bronze (metal)
mercury and amalgam
Object type
Furniture
Descriptive terms
bronze (metal)
magic mirrors
mercury and amalgam
Mirror
mirrors
Accession Number
2006.44.3536
GUSN
241521

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