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Mirror with a Handle in the Form of a Female Figure

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.


3rd century BCE



About this artwork

In Etruria, bronze mirrors were luxury objects designed primarily for women, who were buried with them for use in the afterlife. The front of the bronze disk would have been highly polished in order to reflect the viewer’s image. This example has a handle in the form of a winged Lasa, a minor deity associated with Turan, the Etruscan goddess of love. Lasa holds an alabastron (container for scented oil) in her left hand. Because Lasa is thought to have been associated with funerary rites, the alabastron might evoke the ceremonial anointing of the dead.
An image of Eros, the god of love, is engraved on the back of this reflective disk. Eros was a fitting subject for bronze mirrors, which were given primarily to women, likely as wedding presents. Here, with hammer firmly in hand, Eros stands among carpentry tools, including a second hammer, an adze, a double axe, a chisel, and possibly a double saw. On the left is an amphora (storage jar) and a table. The significance of this unusual scene is not yet understood, but its selection might reflect the Etruscan taste for obscure and rarely illustrated mythological episodes.


On View, Gallery 151


Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Etruscan


Mirror with a Handle in the Form of a Female Figure


Etruria (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

300 BCE–201 BCE




33.7 × 17.3 × 3.2 cm (13 1/4 × 6 3/4 × 1 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Anonymous loan

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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