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A Tentative Study of "Qian Qui" Mirrors of Tang Dynasty
Pages: 40-49
Year: Issue:  5
Journal: Journal of National Museum of Chinese History

Keyword:  Tang Dynasty"Qian Qiu" mirrormirror with coiled dragon designmirror with paired flying birds design;
Abstract: After a textual research, this article finds out that mirrors (mostly produced at Yangzhou) related to the Qianqiu ("thousand years", indicating longevity) Festival fell into two categories: bestowments from the emperor or presents to the emperor. Some mirrors were bestowed to princesses, dignitaries, and officials above the fourth rank to moralize court ofHcials as an encouragement and to show the imperial favours, while others were presented by officials of lower ranks to celebrate the emperor’s birthday and to praise his virtue. It is found that mirrors with the inscription "Qian Qiu" were all bestowed by the emperor and they were decorated with either coiled dragons (in two types) or paired flying birds (in four types). The designs likely served the Qianqiu Festival’s purpose to present a facade of peace and stability and variations in their designs and types denoted different status of the receivers. This article also makes a case study of mirrors with coiled dragon design to illustrate the influence of "Qian Qiu" mirrors—of which the production lasted nearly thirty years—on contemporaneous and later mirrors in the Tang Dynasty.
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