(918-1392 CE). During this time, decorative arts including celadon ceramics, textiles and bronze wares, flourished under the patronage of the royal court. Famed for their translucent glazes, fluent shapes and delicately inlaid patterns, celadon ceramics have especially come to be seen as one of the highpoints of Goryeo’s artistic traditions. The manufacture of bronzes also increased dramatically, leading to the production of many different types of objects: from Buddhist artifacts such as sculptures, relic containers, gongs and bells, to secular wares, in particular hairpins, spoons, chopsticks, and bowls. Many bronze mirrors were made during this time, and they form the focal point of this article which explores some of their key characteristics, and questions the symbiotic relationship between mirror designs and mirror uses. – TAASA Review September 2011


This article was originally found in the September 2011 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 20, Issue 3, Page 11).

The full article is available for free to TAASA Members.


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More than a thousand bronze mirrors from the Goryeo kingdom have survived and many are now held in museums and private collections in Korea and elsewhere.

Mirrors from this period continue to surface in South Korea as a result of excavations being carried out in the wake of construction works.

It was not uncommon for elite members of Goryeo society to be buried with a bronze mirror, and over the past decade, several mirrors have been discovered in such contexts. That mirrors formed an integral part of Goryeo culture is not only evidenced by their sheer numbers, but also by the fact that their manufacture in part was controlled by the central government administration of arts and crafts workshops...