Ancient mirror workshop found in China

Beijing, April 24 (IANS) A 2,000-year-old bronze mirror workshop has been excavated in China’s Shandong province, archaeologists announced Wednesday, adding it is the first discovery of this kind.

According to Bai Yunxiang, deputy director of the archaeological institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, over 100 stone moulds, as well as foundry pits, wells and blastpipes have been unearthed at the site in a village near Zibo city, Xinhua reported.

The workshop is believed to have been active in the early period of the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD), when the once-costly bronze mirrors gradually became household objects, said Bai.

“It’s the first time that a bronze mirror workshop has been discovered, providing precious insights into technologies used for China’s ancient mirror making,” Bai said.

The items are made entirely of bronze, with a reflection given by the metal.

The artefacts are representative of mirror fashions in the dynasty, including a mould with patterns incorporating “panchi”, a dragon-shaped monster that was commonly used in mirror decoration at the start of the era and another with a grass-leaf design that became popular in the early Han Dynasty, the archaeologist said.

Discovered in 2011, it is believed that the workshop formed part of the “industrial zone” of the ancient city of Linzi, which flourished as a commercial hub from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BC – 221 BC). A dozen coins and ironware workshops have also been found in the area.

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