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

Bronze mirror

Early fifth century BC?, Late Lydian (Persian)
Istanbul, Archaeological Museum, 4572
Museum Inventory No.
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
IAM 4572
Bronze/Copper Alloy
Object Type
Metalwork Type
Cosmetic or Surgical Implement
Butler Tomb 213
Butler Tomb 213
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.
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.
See Also
Baughan, “Lydian Burial Customs”.
Butler 1922, 84, ill. 82; Oliver 1971; Dusinberre 2003, 151-2, fig. 58.