A fine Egyptian Bronze Toilet Mirror, Middle Kingdom, ca. 1938 - 1758 BCE
A fine Egyptian Bronze Toilet Mirror, Middle Kingdom, ca. 1938 - 1758 BCE

A fine Egyptian Bronze Toilet Mirror, Middle Kingdom, ca. 1938 - 1758 BCE


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This delicate bronze hand mirror was made in two pieces: the thin, ellipsoidal mirror disc has a tang that fits neatly into a hole in the socket handle. The wood handle is in the form of a papyrus column, perhaps the most popular shape for Egyptian mirror handles. The thin, elegant disc, once burnished to a gleaming reflective surface, now features a fine deep green/brown patina.

The shaft of metallic mirrors were made in Egypt as early as the Old Kingdom and had function as well as religious and funerary uses. Reflecting the image of a person, the mirror disc was associated with vitality, generation, and regeneration. The shape of the papyrus stalk, so often used as a handle, points out this association together with solar, and to a lesser extent, lunar connection considering the shape and light-giving quality of the disk.

For related examples see: Anlen, Léon, and Roger Padiou Les miroirs de bronze anciens. (1989) Guy Tredaniel, Paris, France.
Dayagi-Mendels, Michal Perfumes and Cosmetics in the Ancient World. (1989) The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel.
Institut du monde Arabe, Paris, , and Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich SOUDAN. Royaumes sur le Nil 1997 (Exhibition in Munich, Paris, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Mannheim.). Flammarion, Paris. (83, plate 89)
Khalil, Hassan M. Preliminary Studies on the Sanusret Collection. (1976) Manuscript, Musée l’Egypte et le Monde Antique, Monaco-Ville, Monaco. ([III] 309-311)
Manniche, Lise Sacred Luxuries: Fragrance, Aromatherapy, & Cosmetics in Ancient Egypt. (1999) Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.
Vandier d’Abbadie, J. Catalogue des objets de toilette égyptiens. (1972) Editions des Musées Nationaux, Paris, France.

Medium:  Bronze, Wood

Condition: With a deep green patina, the mirror is overall intact and in very good condition. The handle, originally in two pieces, was treated and professionally rejoined to museum standards and presented on a museum-quality custom mount.

Dimensions: Height: 8 1/4 inches (21 cm), Mirror width: 4 1/8 inches (10.47 cm)

Provenance: Private collection of Victor Pafundi (1949-2018), Florida, the collection assembled from the late 1970s to 1990s.

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Furthermore, we conduct due diligence to ensure the item, to the best of our knowledge, has not been illegally obtained from an excavation, architectural monument, public institution, or private property. Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.

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