Mirror with a Pair of Addorsed Sphinxes with Scorpion Tails

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Polished-metal mirrors have existed since ancient times, from Egypt to Greece to China. The medieval Islamic period, specifically during the rise of the Seljuqs and other Turkish dynasties, witnessed the production of a large number of circular cast-bronze mirrors with a fully decorated reverse. Despite a relatively short phase of manufacture (twelfth to the thirteenth century), they enjoyed wide popularity within and beyond the Seljuq realm. The simple technique of sand-cast bronze would have enabled mass production for a broad market, as demonstrated by the large number of mirrors with similar motifs (specifically the type featuring a pair of sphinxes with scorpion tails). Beyond their practical function, they served as talismans, given their benedictory inscriptions and apotropaic motifs. Some are believed to have been used for divination or possess other magical powers.

Mirror with a Pair of Addorsed Sphinxes with Scorpion Tails, Bronze; cast

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