Bronze mirror, double Horus, Dyn. 12

Bronze mirror, double Horus, Dyn. 12
Period:Egypt, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12
Dating:1991 BC–1782 BC
Physical:22.3cm. (8.7 in.) - 285 g. (10.1 oz.)

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Links to others from Dynasty 12

Bronze of Goddess Nebethetepet, Dyn. 12
Ka statue of King Amenemhet III, Dyn. 12
King as Horus-the-Child, Dyn. 12
Limestone shawabti, Dyn. 12
Limestone shawabti, Dyn. 12
New year flask, royal gift of sacred water
Panel from outer wooden coffin, Dyn. 12
Queen as Isis nursing, Dyn. 12
Scarab of Senusret I, Dyn. 12
Scarab with Lord Ptah, Dyn. 12
Scarab with Ra and four cobras, Dyn. 12
Scarab with Thot Ka Ra, Dyn. 12
Shawabti of Im-Neferw-Neb, Dyn. 12
Shawabti ‘substitute of the dead’, Dyn.12
Shawabti, ‘substitute of the dead’, Dyn.12
Stone head of a king, Dyn. 12
Wood statue of Amenemhat II, Dyn. 12

Links to others of type Mirror

Bronze Mirror, Rome, 50 BC-50 AD
Copper and wood mirror, Dyn. 8
Engraved bronze mirror, Persia, 1100 BC
Engraved mirror, Etruria, 300 BC
Engraved mirror, Etruria, 380 BC
Engraved mirror, Etruria, 400-300 BC
Hammered bronze mirror, Persia, c.1000 BC
Mirror, Amlash, Persia, 1100-900 BC
Mirror with long handle, Etruria, 400 BC
  The thin ellipsoidal disc of this copper/bronze mirror of the Middle Kingdom is fastened to an intricately detailed handle. Its recessed motifs were originally filled with enamel-like colored glass. Its arched papyrus-shaped capital is adorned with two representations of the falcon god Horus.

Since we do not know the context in which it was found, dating this artifact presents some difficulties. It could date back anytime from Dynasty 12 to Dynasty 19.

In their monograph on mirrors, Anlen and Padiou (1989:464-465) assign a similar mirror (Cairo Museum #44031) to the New Kingdom, Dynasty 18 or 19. However, another similar mirror was found in a tomb (S 552) excavated by a team from Harvard University in Semna, Sudan. Currently owned by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, it was recently catalogued as follows: “Found in a tomb of Dynasty 18 in Semna, this style of mirror is typical of the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period” (Institut du Monde Arabe. L’Egypte au Soudan. 1997:83, plate 89).

The thinness of the disk itself (2 mm) tends to indicate an earlier date, as noted by Anlen and Padiou who assert that “During the 12th Dynasty, the thickness of mirrors increased from 1.5 to 3, then to 8 mm, thanks to a new manufacturing technique (poured bronze), allowing a convex shape that reduces the reflected image” (1989:122). It would seem that this particular mirror was manufactured before such an improvement in manufacturing technology, and therefore during the earlier part of Dynasty 12.

Bibliography (for this item)

Adams, Barbara
1988 Predynastic Egypt. Shire, Princesss Risborough, United Kingdom.

Anlen, Léon, and Roger Padiou
1989 Les miroirs de bronze anciens. Guy Tredaniel, Paris, France.

Dayagi-Mendels, Michal
1989 Perfumes and Cosmetics in the Ancient World. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel.

Institut du monde Arabe, Paris, , and Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich
1997 SOUDAN. Royaumes sur le Nil (Exhibition in Munich, Paris, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Mannheim.). Flammarion, Paris. (
83, plate 89)

Khalil, Hassan M.
1976 Preliminary Studies on the Sanusret Collection. Manuscript, Musée l’Egypte et le Monde Antique, Monaco-Ville, Monaco. (
[III] 309-311)

Manniche, Lise
1999 Sacred Luxuries: Fragrance, Aromatherapy, & Cosmetics in Ancient Egypt. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Vandier d’Abbadie, J.
1972 Catalogue des objets de toilette égyptiens. Editions des Musées Nationaux, Paris, France.

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