Bronze box mirror

Period: Late Classical or Hellenistic

Date: late 4th century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: diameter 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
H. of handle 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm)
H. of Head 5 7/16in. (13.8cm)

Classification: Bronzes

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1925

Accession Number: 25.78.44a–d


Box mirrors, like this one, came into use toward the end of the fifth century B.C. It consists of a protective cover bearing a relief that was hammered separately and applied. On this box mirror, the edges around the head of Pan bear evidence of the procedure. By lifting the ring below the relief, one could reveal the mirror, a bronze disk with a highly polished surface.
Being a woodland creature like the satyr, Pan is always portrayed with the horns, ears, and shaggy legs of a goat. Here he wears a fawn's skin with two small hooves tied in a knot around his neck. His long curls are in disarray, his forehead is slightly furrowed, and his eyebrows are raised in an expression that verges on pathos. This rendering of Pan recalls portraits of Alexander the Great. Following his death in 323 B.C., Greek artists adapted the Macedonian ruler's features for their likenesses of gods.