Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chinese magic mirrors

(via orientallyyours)

Chinese magic mirrors. Date and maker unknown. In the Bill Douglas Collection, University of Exeter. Reference #: BD069079, BD069083

The proper term for Chinese magic mirror is Tou Guang Jing 透光镜. It can be traced back to the Han dynasty era and was made of  solid bronze with a shiny polished surface on one side with a design cast in bronze on the back. When sunlight or another bright light reflects onto the mirror, the mirror appears to become transparent. If the light is reflected from the mirror onto a wall, the pattern on the back of the mirror is then projected onto the wall, similar to how light reflects from ripples on water. Due to this transparent effect, they were called ‘light-penetration mirrors’ by the Chinese. This phenomenon of the mirror had puzzled people, including scientists for centuries. They became popular in Europe in the early 19th century and today imitations are made to amuse collectors as optical toys.

Image Source: University of Exeter Digital Collection, 1, 2

1 comment:

male said...

use just lemon juice to clean the bronze without ant brush - have water on hand deep enough to quickly quench - it only takes 10 seconds - I use the quartered lemon itself as a tool - no more that 10 seconds at a time - triple wash with water and use a small hair dryer - no hand prints and then cotton gloves on rub with your hand all over, the verdigris will be gone naturally!
cheers from mal E (downunder)