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Paper Information

Journal:   NEGAREH   summer 2017 , Volume 12 , Number 42 ; Page(s) 99 To 109.

A Comparative Study of the Visual Characteristics of Metal Mirrorsfrom Iran and China with a Glance at the Seljuk Era

Author(s):  Dastan Nasrin, Bakhshandeh Mona
The art of metalwork is an Iranian form of handcraft that dates back to thousands of years ago. Each remaining art piece represents the culture and custom of the people from the era it was made in. The Achaemenid and Sassanid dynasties are two of the main outstanding pre-Islamic eras, from which valuable and priceless pieces of art have been left behind. The art from these dynasties contain various patterns, however it seems that it is mainly the animal patterns that draw the viewers to themselves. The most predominant post-Islamic era in the art of metalwork is the Seljuk dynasty. Metal mirrors are examples of arts and crafts produced in Iran during both pre and post-Islamic eras. The mirrors were mainly round, occasionally with a handles, crafted out of metal, engraved and ornamented with various patterns. Metalwork is also one of the active forms of Chinese arts and crafts, and the pieces from the various dynasties, mainly Hun, Tang and Song are decorated with the uttermost precision. The beautiful and delicately decorated mirrors made in Iran are very similar to the mirrors made in China. This similarity has brought up the questions that whether the origin of the Iranian metal mirror making is China, and what are the exclusive characteristics of each of these mirrors. Furthermore, whether some of the characteristics of the Chinese mirrors are evident in the examples from Iran? This research is historical-descriptive, based on library resources. The aim of this research was to find and show the characteristics of the metal mirrors from each country, based on theremaining pieces of art, in order to ascertain the origin oftheirmaking. The findings indicate that the metal mirrors made in Iran with regard to the crafting technique and the use of foundry methods and hammering of the metal sheets, were widespread in China. The use of the miniaturized and compact motifs, arrangement of the floral sprays, depiction of human figures in various positions, constellations or animal motifs such as rabbit, which is one of the characteristics of Iran’ s art during the Seljuk era, and the circular shape of the mirrors as well as the central handle, were influenced by Chinese art.
Keyword(s): Metal Mirrors,Metalwork,Art,Iran,China,Seljuk Dynasty
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