Han Dynasty mirror workshop discovered in China

A 2,000-year-old bronze mirror workshop has been excavated in east China's Shandong Province, the first such discovery in China, archaeologists announced on Wednesday.

Han Dynasty mirror workshop discovered in China
A bronze mirror workshop, dating from some 2,000 years ago in China's 
Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.) [Credit: Xinhua/Zhu Zheng]
More than 100 stone moulds, as well as foundry pits, wells and blastpipes have been unearthed at the site in a village near Zibo City, said Bai Yunxiang, deputy director of the archaeological institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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, according to Bai.

Han Dynasty mirror workshop discovered in China
Pottery pieces discovered at a newly discovered ancient workshop site in Zibo
 east China's Shandong Province [Credit: Xinhua/Zhu Zheng]
These items are made entirely of bronze, with a reflection given by the metal.

"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.

Han Dynasty mirror workshop discovered in China
Excavations at the newly discovered ancient workshop site in Zibo
 east China's Shandong Province [Credit: Xinhua/Zhu Zheng]
According to the archaeologist, the artifacts 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.

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 dozon coin and ironware workshops have also been found in the area. 

Source: Xinhua [April 24, 2013]

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