A Roman bronze disc-shaped mirror with a tinned reflective surface and turned and pierced decoration. 1st or 2nd Century AD
This type where the mirror section has been coated on both sides with a thin layer of tin, presumably to give a more realistic reflection. The back of the mirror is decorated with concentric circles. Significant reflective surface remaining. The remainder shows areas of oxidisation of both the bronze and tin, some pitting and light scratching but otherwise intact and stable. A rare and beautiful item in extremely good condition.
Condition: Handle lost, otherwise intact with accretions as seen in the photographs.
Dimensions: 11.1 cms diameter.
Provenance: Ex .Helios Gallery, UK. Previously Ex. collection: Mr and Mrs Broukal, UK; acquired before 1956, thence by descent.
One of the most overlooked innovations during the days of ancient Rome was the proper effective development of mirrors. Many of the innovations in the development of mirrors that we take for granted today can trace their origins to Roman improvements on a seemingly simple concept.
Mirrors had existed in history long before the Roman Empire. Glass mirrors with metal coating made their way to Rome via the Middle East. These mirrors were utilized to a great extent in ancient Rome. Gradually, Romans added their own improvements and artistic touches. For example, glass mirrors that were backed by golf leaves became popular.
A unique method for creating far less expensive mirrors entailed pouring molten lead over glass that had been recently blown. This less expensive approach made the mirrors more accessible to the populace. Not everyone in Rome was wealthy or a noble. As such, there was a strong need for an inexpensive and easily replaceable mirror.
Some of these mirrors have survived over the centuries. Amazingly, many of them have not lost their luster even though 2,000 years have passed since they were first created.
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