1000–200 BCE
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General Description

Among the relatively few objects in the limited category of things that are at once magical, aesthetic, and technological is the mirror. In addition to its sharing of all these qualities in the Chinese and Japanese traditions, the mirror had a similar multivalency in the pre-Columbian New World. Mirrors were used by each of the base cultures of Mesoamerica and the Andes, including the Olmec and Chavín. This example is representative of one Chavín mirror type, and the form is similar to other known examples. Anthracite is found as a raw material in the Jequetepeque and Chicama valleys on Peru's north coast. Anthracite mirrors were highly polished to reflect a sharp, dark image and often accompanied the dead at Cupisnique sites.

Adapted from

  • Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries.

  • John Lunsford, DMA unpublished material, 1986.