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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Miniature Mirror
Work Type
5th-4th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Etruria
Archaic period to Hellenistic
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
6.9 x 4.8 x 3.4 cm (2 11/16 x 1 7/8 x 1 5/16 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is a varied green with spots of red, and dark brown accretions are present. Mineralization is deep, and small chips are missing from the edges in many areas. Scrape marks from a modern cleaning are also present. The sides of the handle have been filed down to bright metal for no known reason. About one-tenth of the mirror’s shiny surface on the convex side is preserved, although it has mineralized to green.

The small mirror is quite thick and was presumably formed by casting. It is not perfectly round. No decorative enhancements are visible.

Henry Lie (submitted 2011)

Walton Brooks McDaniel, New Jersey (?-1943/46), gift; to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University (1943/46-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.

Note: Walton Brooks McDaniel gave a portion of his collection to the Department of the Classics in 1943 and the rest in 1946. The Collection is named for his late wife, Alice Corinne McDaniel.
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
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This miniature bronze mirror is oval, with a short, plain tang that tapers slightly toward the point. The tang has recently been cut into a straight edge on one side. One side of the mirror is smooth, while the other is somewhat pitted. The edge of the mirror is rough. The mirror bears no decoration or inscriptions.

Miniature objects are common in the ancient world, although most miniature objects are ceramic vessels. They are often thought to have had a ritual, votive purpose or to have been toys for children (1).


1. Compare a group of miniature armor in R. D. De Puma, Etruscacn Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2014) 169, nos. 5.31-32.a-d.

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), M4, p. 154 [J. S. Crawford]

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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