Bronze mirrors were common daily implements in ancient China, which have been handed down and unearthed in great quantities, constituting a large and widely distributed collection category. Archaeological discoveries have found that the earliest bronze mirrors appeared in the Qijia culture during the Neolithic period, and continued to be used until the Ming and Qing dynasties, nearly spanning the entire history of ancient China. Bronze mirrors not only played an important role in people’s daily lives, but also have rich cultural connotations. They are important carriers of China’s outstanding traditional culture, directly reflecting China’s copper casting techniques, aesthetics and folk beliefs, as well as the mutual learning between China and foreign cultures. The bronze mirror collection of the National Museum of China boasts a large number and wide variety of specimens, exquisite casting and distinctive characteristics of the times. Since Mr. Shen Congwen published Bronze Mirrors of the Tang and Song Dynasties in 1958, the study of ancient bronze mirrors has continued, forming a profound academic legacy.
Held by the National Museum of China, the exhibition “Mirrors of Eternity: A Cultural Exhibition of Ancient Chinese Bronze Mirrors” relies upon the museum’s rich collection resources. More than 260 exhibits were selected from thousands of bronze mirrors, related accessories and pottery casting models in the museum’s collection. This exhibition connects the entire development of ancient Chinese bronze mirrors and systematically demonstrates their historical, aesthetic, technological and cultural value. The exhibition is divided into seven sections. Through the combination of historical and thematic displays, it comprehensively integrates the use of animation, interactive multimedia and other new technologies to systematically present the development history, production techniques, trade circulation and inscription decorations of ancient Chinese bronze mirrors. It vividly reproduces the extraordinary achievements of ancient Chinese copper smelting and casting technology, fully demonstrates the unique aesthetic consciousness and values of the Chinese nation, as well as the Chinese people’s yearning for and pursuit of a better life since ancient times, and profoundly reveals the extensive influence of Chinese culture.