Important Cultural PropertyMirror with dragon motif

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  • Place of excavation unknown
  • 1 piece
  • Bronze
  • D 38.4
  • Kofun period/4th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • J-35507
  • Donated by Dan Inō

A daryu is an imaginary animal and said to be a type of crocodile. This mirror is one of the hoseikyo mirrors that are modeled after Chinese kanjonyu-shinjukyo mirrors. Joss and small animals with sticks in their mouths are placed on the extended trunk of a banryu (a dragon lying in a coil) that surrounds small round projections called nyu. The shared head between the joss and the banryu features this type of mirror. The pattern in the exterior section is a deformed hikakusojumon (a pattern of birds and animals) that looks like a hossu (a kind of brush) that a priest uses. Although the pattern is deformed, this is a hoseikyo mirror of high quality as the design is elaborate and the casting finish is superb.
A daryu mirror similar to this one was excavated from the Chausuyama Tumulus in Yanai, Yamaguchi. It is also a large mirror with a diameter of 44.5 cm. Thus when hoseikyo mirrors began to be produced in Japan, mirrors much larger in size than the original Chinese ones were also produced. Other large mirrors include the naikokamonkyo mirrors excavated from the Otsuka Tumulus in Yanagimoto, Nara and the Hirabaru Site in Fukuoka and the magatamamonkyo mirrors excavated from the Shikinzan Tumulus in Osaka. The fact that such large and elaborate mirrors were cast shows that the technical level at that time was very high.

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