The dating of chinese bronze mirrors
The stillness of the mind of the sage is the mirror of heaven and earth, the looking glass of the myriad things. Mair 1994: 119-120) Many scholars of Chinese philosophy have analyzed the mirror metaphor for the xin "heart-mind".Harold Oshima (1983: 75) explains that for a modern Westerner who regards a mirror as a commonplace looking-glass, this metaphor "appears quite pedestrian and unexciting" until one realizes that the ancient Chinese imagined mirrors "to possess broad and mysterious powers." For instance, a mirror can reveal and control demons.The yángsuì 陽燧 or sun-mirror was an ancient Chinese burning-mirror that concentrates sunlight to ignite tinder and the fāngzhū 方諸 or moon-mirror was a device that collects nighttime dew by condensation.These two bronze implements are literary metaphors for yin and yang, associating the "yang-mirror" yangsui with the sun (a.k.a.When placed before the moon—the ultimate yin 陰 phenomenon in the world—they respond with water: the pure essence of yin.
When placed before the sun—the ultimate yang 陽 phenomenon in the world—they respond with fire: the pure essence of yang.For instance, the Zhuangzi famously says having a mirror-like xin represents the ideal state of unity with the Dao.Do not be a corpse for fame, Do not be a storehouse of schemes; Do not be responsible for affairs, Do not be a proprietor of knowledge.The ceremonial bronze fusui 夫遂 and yangsui 陽燧 mirrors were seen as active, responsive objects because they could be used to produce fire and water (two of the Five Phases).When placed outside, concave mirrors focused sunlight to produce fire, while bronze mirrors gathered condensation in the light of the moon.