Ancient Roman Bronze Mirror with Gold Appliqué


A circular Ancient Roman bronze mirror. The front face is smooth and retains good reflectivity, whilst the back has been decorated. A circular gold appliqué is set at the centre of the piece, displaying an angular floriate motif rendered in the repoussé technique. Incised concentric circles frame the appliqué, including a band of evenly arranged radial grooves. Towards the rim, there are three slightly raised concentric ridges, forming a delicately textured surface.

Please be aware, stand is for reference only.

Date: Circa 3rd Century AD
Provenance: Ex Abelita family collection, 1980s - 2010; Ex JL Collection
Condition: Fine condition.


Mirrors such as these were usually lined on the surface with tin, which allowed them to be highly polished and offer a better reflective side. These items were highly valued by individuals of Ancient Rome on account of the importance given to appearance and grooming. They were often displayed in public spaces, such as the baths, so that everyone had access to them. The polished metals were believed to allow the gods to see into one’s soul and therefore to break a mirror was deemed very disrespectful. It was thought that the gods would bring bad luck and misfortune on those who were so careless however when the mirrors were produced from glass, it became harder to prevent breakages.

Weight 150.6 g
Dimensions W 12.5 x H 13 cm




Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 1894,1101.597-598

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