Important Cultural PropertyMirror with hunting motif

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  • Reportedly excavated in Yahatabara-town, Takasaki-city, Gunma Prefecture
  • 1 set
  • Bronze
  • D 18.1
  • Kofun period/4-5th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • J-7279

 This is one of the mirrors that have original patterns different from those of Chinese mirrors. The inner and outer areas are divided by two concentric circles and multiple arc patterns are applied on both sides of the circles and along the rim of the mirror. Inside the inner area, four people and four animals are represented. The animals seem to be deer since they have antlers although they have a curly tail. The people have a jar or shield in their hands and a cirriform string on their heads. In the outer area, there are ten people. While one person orients his head toward the center and raises both arms up, the remaining nine persons stand parallel to the rim and have a shield in one hand and a sword in the other. Some of them have a cirriform string on their heads or waists. Something like marking pins come out of the outer dividing circle into the spaces between the human figures in a radial manner. Since it was believed that the scene depicted a group of people hunting, this was titled "Hunting Pattern Mirror." However, many people now claim that this is a dancing scene. Mirrors that seem to be of the same type have been excavated from the Higashinomiya Tomb in Aichi, the Hoju Tomb in Gifu and the Tenjinyama Tomb in Nara. This mirror is a valuable piece as a painting material of ancient Japan since the representation of the people and animals is similar to those depicted on bell-shaped bronze vessels, unglazed earthenware and haniwa.

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