• latw-134-1
    Bronze mirror (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)

Bronze mirror

Date
Early fifth century BC?, Late Lydian (Persian)
Museum
Istanbul, Archaeological Museum, 4572
Inventory No.
4572
Material
Bronze
Object Type
Metalwork
Metalwork Type
Cosmetic or Surgical Implement
Site
Sardis
Locus
Tomb 213
Description
Large bronze mirror. Circular disk with reflecting surfaces on both sides; the surfaces are slightly convex, so the image would be smaller than natural. Border is decorated with geometric designs (on one side, guilloche and triangles; on the other, guilloche and meander). Around edge of mirror, beads attached to mirror by means of small spikes; many beads missing, leaving the spikes exposed. Handle terminates in calf’s head, and is attached to the mirror disk with a separate clamp, decorated with two horse protomes back-to-back. Handle inlaid with alternating rings of different metals (Butler: “bronze, iron, and silver;” Oliver: “perhaps silver or antimony”). Diameter of disk 0.215 m, length of mirror 0.355 m.
Comments
Excavated at Sardis in 1911 by the Butler Expedition, in Tomb 213. This tomb also contained the gold rattle No. 135, another bronze mirror, a silver Achaemenid bowl (IAM 9740), another silver bowl, a pyramidal stamp seal with gold mount (IAM 4522), two gold rings (IAM 4548, 4550), a chain of gold and carnelian beads (IAM 4571), a ceramic “ampulla,” a ceramic lamp, and seven stone alabastra. The form, with a handle ending in a calf’s head terminal, and a round “working element” attached by means of animals, is reminiscent of the bronze incense burner from the Lydian Treasure, No. 173. The calf’s-head terminals are common in Achaemenid-period metalwork in Anatolia (cf. Nos. 192, 193). The horse protomes have been compared to column imposts at Iranian sites such as Pasargadae and Persepolis, and seem a particularly Achaemenid motif.
Discussed
Baughan, “Lydian Burial Customs”
Bibliography
Butler 1922, 84, ill. 82; Oliver 1971; Dusinberre 2003, 151-2, fig. 58.
Author
NDC