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

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Components of a Box Mirror
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Mirror
Work Type
4th-3rd century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Classical period, Late, to Hellenistic
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
8.45 x 1.4 cm (3 5/16 x 9/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: zinc, iron
Comments: There is zinc-rich solder on 1969.177.20.B. The mirror discs have the same elements.
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina of both mirror components is very corroded and has green, red, brown, and orange encrustations. The surfaces are poorly preserved. The edges of both components are damaged with gouges and lead solder as the result of a modern repair attempt.

The discs were cast. It is possible that the turn lines, visible on the interior of 1969.177.20.A (the mirror) and on the exterior and interior of 1969.177.20.B (the cover), were done by the engraving and removal of the metal surface, but it is also possible that these lines were created in the wax model given the amount of metal that would have been removed. Although the surfaces are poorly preserved, the pattern of rings is very similar between the interior of 1969.177.20.A and exterior of 1969.177.20.B. The exterior of 1969.177.20.A was plated with a white metal. Its outer rim was made from a separate piece of metal that was probably formed by hammering and attached with a solder that has corroded and is now not apparent.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)


Recorded Ownership History
Harry J. Denberg, New York, NY (by 1969), gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1969.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Harry J. Denberg
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
Each of these circular discs was an 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. Although it is not certain whether they were associated with each other in antiquity, the fact that they are the same size and have the same alloys suggests that they might indeed belong together. The reflecting surface of 1969.177.20.A is rather corroded, but it appears to have been polished and is featureless except for a beveled edge. The reverse of the mirror, on the concave side, is decorated with raised concentric circles. The mirror cover, 1969.177.20.B, would have been positioned to cover the reflecting surface, with the raised rim fitting into the beveled edge of 1969.177.20.B. The cover is similar to the mirror disc in form. The exterior is decorated with raised concentric circles, while the interior, which would have faced the reflecting surface when the mirror was closed, bears only one raised concentric circle.


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

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