Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Part of a Box Mirror
Work Type
3rd-1st century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Hellenistic period
Hellenistic or Early Roman
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Mirror: High tin bronze; Back of mirror: Mixed copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
10.9 x 0.2 cm (4 5/16 x 1/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: Mirror
XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: High Tin Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: iron, arsenic?
Comments: It is not possible to tell whether this is tinned or a high tin bronze without sampling.

Back of mirror
XRF data from Artax 1 and Tracer
Alloy: Mixed Copper Alloy
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: zinc, iron

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: A shiny, mirrored surface is preserved on approximately one-tenth of the obverse; the rest of this surface is covered with raised green corrosion products. The back is covered mostly with a thin, dark patina and some raised green corrosion products.

Hundreds of marks that appear to be hammer marks from a forming process are visible on the reverse. However, small raised features on this side appear to be casting artifacts and are incompatible with a hammered surface. It is likely that the disc was formed by casting. The mirror side is slightly convex, and the edge is slightly irregular rather than a perfect, smooth curve. The preserved portions of the shiny surface are completely white (colorless); according to XRF analysis, this portion is a high-tin bronze. There is no evidence of a hinge or any other attachment on either side, although such evidence may be hidden under the thick layers of corrosion on most of the mirror side.

Henry Lie (submitteed 2011)


Recorded Ownership History
The Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (before 1970-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This disc is the reflective element of a hinged box mirror, also known as a Klappspiegel (1). A box mirror consisted of two discs that stacked together, joined by a hinge. One disc functioned as the mirror, the other as the protective cover. The reflective surface is covered with thick corrosion, with only a small area of silvery metal exposed. The convex underside is plain.


1. Compare L. P. di Cesnola, A Descriptive Atlas of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriote Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 3 (Boston, 1903) pl. 60.4; J. W. Hayes, Greek, Roman, and Related Metalware in the Royal Ontario Museum: A Catalogue (Toronto, 1984) 188-93, nos. 316-23; and B. Borell, Statuetten, Gefässe und andere Gegenstände aus Metall, Katalog der Sammlung antiker Kleinkunst des Archäologischen Instituts der Universität Heidelberg 3.1 (Mainz, 1989) 127-28, no. 139, pl. 52.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

  • John Crawford, Sidney Goldstein, George M. A. Hanfmann, John Kroll, Judith Lerner, Miranda Marvin, Charlotte Moore, and Duane Roller, Objects of Ancient Daily Life. A Catalogue of the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection Belonging to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, ed. Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), M14, p. 161 [J. S. Crawford]
  • Susanne Ebbinghaus, ed., Ancient Bronzes through a Modern Lens: Introductory Essays on the Study of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes, Harvard Art Museum/Yale University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2014), p. 85

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at