Christie's NY to auction rare Chinese mirrors Mar 22

On March 22, Christie’s New York will offer Luminous Perfection: Fine Chinese Mirrors from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection. A prominent dealer and collectorRobert H. Ellsworth is a legendary figure in the field of Asian art. He began to collect Chinese bronze mirrors more than sixty years ago and was able to amass a superb collection of rare and important mirrors that span more than 2,000 years from the Warring States period (475-221 BC) through the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Comprising 70 lots, the sale is expected to realize in excess of $1.2 million and will be led by a rare silvery bronze octalobed mirror with cranes from the Tang dynasty (618-907) (Above).

Unlike their European counterparts, the Chinese mirror features a central perforated knob through which a cord would be strung for handling purposes.

Fashioned from a high tin-content bronze to produce a bright, silvery patina, these mirrors often bear exquisitely cast designs while the reverse side is polished to a reflective surface.

The designs range from abstract, geometric patterns to elaborate figural scenes, and often incorporate poetic inscriptions that refer to the moon, alluding to the mirrors’ luminous nature.