Loading Spinner

Chinese Mirrors

Though uncommon until the Han dynasty, the Chinese made mirrors since the Neolithic period. Chinese mirrors are made from a bronze alloy rather than glass. This craft was developed primarily during the Han dynasty. Mirrors are cast with one flat side and one side decorated with intricate lines, symbols, and decorations surrounding a round knob in the middle. As time passed, the designs became less abstract and more figurative in their representation of motifs.

The technique used to create bronze mirrors in China during the Han dynasty also led to the development of the Chinese “Magic Mirror," also known as the “light-penetration” mirror due to its seemingly transparent quality. These bronze objects appeared to be perfectly smooth and mirror-like on one side, with a decoration on the other. However, when shown under a bright light like the sun, an image of the back decoration can be seen in the projection of the flat side.


Quick Facts

  • The development of these mirrors greatly improved the lives of the Han Chinese. Prior to the invention of the bronze mirror, the Chinese would look into a basin full of water in order to see his or her reflection
  • The reflection of the back image of the magic mirror onto a wall is created by subtle and small variations in the bronze surface that are undetectable by the naked eye, and can only be felt by a master magic mirror maker
  • One of the earliest excavated bronze mirrors has been dated as far back as 2000 B.C.

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Chinese Silver Hand Mirror
Dec 06, 6:00 PM AWST
Chinese Silver Hand Mirror
by McKenzies Auctioneers
Est: AUD450- AUD550
AUD4002 Bids
Fine Large Chinese Mirror with Chairman Mao, 1960s-70s
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
Fine Large Chinese Mirror with Chairman Mao, 1960s-70s
by Washingtonian Auction
Est: $200- $300
$501 Bid
A CHINESE CLOISONNE ENAMEL LOTUS SCROLLS MIRROR
Dec 04, 9:30 AM EST
A CHINESE CLOISONNE ENAMEL LOTUS SCROLLS MIRROR
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $7,000- $10,000
$1,5001 Bid
bp parity badge
A silvered bronze circular mirror Qin to early Western Han dynasty
Dec 07, 2:00 PM AEDT
A silvered bronze circular mirror Qin to early Western Han dynasty
by Bonhams
Est: AUD1,200- AUD1,800
AUD1,2001 Bid
A PAIR OF LATE 19TH CENTURY CHINESE CARVED BOXWOOD OVAL MIRRORS
Nov 30, 9:30 AM GMT
A PAIR OF LATE 19TH CENTURY CHINESE CARVED BOXWOOD OVAL MIRRORS
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £300- £500
£1500 Bids
Chinese Ming Dynasty Bronze Mirrors (2pc)
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
Chinese Ming Dynasty Bronze Mirrors (2pc)
by J. James Auctioneers and Appraisers
Est: $400- $800
$1000 Bids
BRONZE CAST 'FOUR DRAGONS' FLORIFORM MIRROR
Dec 03, 3:00 PM PST
BRONZE CAST 'FOUR DRAGONS' FLORIFORM MIRROR
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5500 Bids
ARCHAIC BRONZE CAST 'MYTHICAL BEAST' MIRROR
Dec 03, 3:00 PM PST
ARCHAIC BRONZE CAST 'MYTHICAL BEAST' MIRROR
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,200- $1,600
$9500 Bids
Chinese Carved Wooden Table Mirror
Nov 29, 12:00 PM EST
Chinese Carved Wooden Table Mirror
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$250 Bids
bp parity badge
Antique Chinese mirror with carved framed, circa 1880-1920
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Antique Chinese mirror with carved framed, circa 1880-1920
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $400- $800
$1600 Bids
bp parity badge
Warring States, Chinese Bronze mirror: Three Shan
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Warring States, Chinese Bronze mirror: Three Shan
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $800- $3,000
$2000 Bids
bp parity badge
Warring States, Chinese bronze mirror T Shan Tiger Deer
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Warring States, Chinese bronze mirror T Shan Tiger Deer
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $15,000- $30,000
$6000 Bids
bp parity badge
西漢 W. Han dynasty, Chinese Bronze TLV Mirror, 107 mm
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
西漢 W. Han dynasty, Chinese Bronze TLV Mirror, 107 mm
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$4000 Bids
bp parity badge
E Jin dynasty Chinese bronze convex mirror - Phoenix, 87mm
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
E Jin dynasty Chinese bronze convex mirror - Phoenix, 87mm
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $2,000- $10,000
$5000 Bids
bp parity badge
W Han Convex Chinese TLV Bronze mirror 8 flowers design
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
W Han Convex Chinese TLV Bronze mirror 8 flowers design
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $2,000- $10,000
$5000 Bids
bp parity badge
E Han dynasty, Chinese Bronze mirror, 4 Phoenixes, 84mm
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
E Han dynasty, Chinese Bronze mirror, 4 Phoenixes, 84mm
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $4,000- $20,000
$5000 Bids
bp parity badge
Authentic Han dynasty (200BC-220AD) Bronze mirror with unusual flower dcor on mirror, 135mm,
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Authentic Han dynasty (200BC-220AD) Bronze mirror with unusual flower dcor on mirror, 135mm,
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $3,000- $20,000
$5000 Bids
bp parity badge
Tang, Unearthed, mysterious iron mirror, 8 Horses, 32cm
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Tang, Unearthed, mysterious iron mirror, 8 Horses, 32cm
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $20,000- $40,000
$1,0000 Bids
bp parity badge
Sui /Tang dyn, Chinese bronze 5 suani & grapes, 14 cm
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Sui /Tang dyn, Chinese bronze 5 suani & grapes, 14 cm
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $5,000- $15,000
$8000 Bids
bp parity badge
Tang dynast Chinese bronze mirror- Suani, Birds, Grapes
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Tang dynast Chinese bronze mirror- Suani, Birds, Grapes
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $3,000- $10,000
$8000 Bids
bp parity badge
Sui - Early Tang, Chinese bronze mirror 4 suani,
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Sui - Early Tang, Chinese bronze mirror 4 suani,
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $4,000- $20,000
$8000 Bids
bp parity badge
Sui/Early Tang (581-906 AD) Chinese bronze mirror with 6 running animals;
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Sui/Early Tang (581-906 AD) Chinese bronze mirror with 6 running animals;
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $5,000- $10,000
$8000 Bids
bp parity badge
Chinese bronze mirror- Monsters & Grapes, 134 mm, Tang Dynasty
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Chinese bronze mirror- Monsters & Grapes, 134 mm, Tang Dynasty
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $2,000- $10,000
$2000 Bids
bp parity badge
Ming dyn. Chinese Bronze mirror: 4 sons getting career
Dec 04, 11:00 AM EST
Ming dyn. Chinese Bronze mirror: 4 sons getting career
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $3,000- $10,000
$8000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Mirrors


Eternity Gallery

Eternity Gallery

Oakridge Auction Gallery

Oakridge Auction Gallery

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Empire Auction House

Empire Auction House