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Silver mirror on a bronze stand, Roman, 200 BCE-200 CE

Mirrors were introduced into the Roman Empire from Egypt. This mirror, which is believed to be a copy, is made from silver and would have been highly polished to allow the user to study their reflection. The bronze base, which is original, shows a young man standing on a tortoise. The tortoise is associated with Aphrodite, the Roman goddess of fertility and with the Roman god Hermes, who made a lyre (a stringed instrument) from a tortoiseshell. Wealthier Romans were concerned with their physical appearance. Mirrors such as these were likely to have been used during washing and when applying cosmetics.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: mirror - furnishing

Objects with a highly polished surface, often framed, which are designed to reflect images.