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China or Japan, 5th - 6th century AD
Cast bronze, diameter 24.2 cm
Gallery I, display case 2 (inv. no. B-546)
Edoardo Chiossone Collection, testamentary bequest, 1898
The semicircular and square mirror featuring four animals, ten Buddhist deities and four small nubs (display case 2), was given to Edoardo Chiossone by the prefect of Ōsaka Mr. Saisho Atsushi in 1881 as a sign of friendship and esteem. An identical specimen, excavated at the Kongōrin-ji temple in Osaka, is kept in the National Museum of Kyōto and is included in the list of Important Japanese national Cultural Heritage (jūyō bunkazai). These ritual use mirrors, whose reflective side is obtained by smoothing the bronze (opposite to the visible side) are usually decorated with Taoist motifs: our specimen presents a rare combination of Taoist decorative motifs and Buddhist figures.