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Asian Art

Mirror with Decoration of Flowers and Children

10th–13th century

Bronze

4 13/16 in. (12.2 cm)
Gift of Schuyler V.R. Cammann, B.A. 1935
1969.55.8
The four scantily clad young boys crawling along the edges of this mirror back are putti-like figures adapted from art of the eastern Mediterranean world, which arrived in China as part of the trade along the Silk Road. The lotuses they hold and the pond in the background, however, reflect the introduction of lotus imagery to China with the Indian religion of Buddhism. By the early Song dynasty, the theme of boys with lotus flowers had become popular in paintings and the three-dimensional arts, and was symbolic of the desire for generations of sons.
Geography: 
China
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
Song Dynasty (960–1279)
Classification: 
Tools and Equipment
Provenance: 

Schuyler Van Rensselaer Cammann, Portland, OR; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Mr. Cammann purchased this mirror in Pingliang, Gansu, in November, 1945, but the dealer said it had come to him from a merchant from another city, and its precise history is unknown.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.