1539-1292 BC


New Kingdom, Dynasty 18


7 3/4 x 4 1/2 in. (19.7 x 11.4 cm)

Object Number



Even the most mundane objects could have deep spiritual significance to the ancient Egyptians and be created with extraordinary skill. This mirror is replete with the symbolism of rejuvenation. In life, this underscores the rejuvenating effects of cosmetics that would have been applied with its help. In death, when placed in a tomb as a funerary offering, the mirror promised eternal rejuvenation to the deceased. The oval-shaped disk of the mirror itself recalls Egyptian depictions of the rising sun. Indeed the owner, when gazing into the polished bronze, would have appeared one with the orb and shared in its eternal power. The handle, cleverly and seamlessly crafted in the form of a papyrus head and nude young girl, also would evoke fertility and the prospect of rebirth. Around the girl's waist is incised a cowrie-shell girdle, often worn as a fertility emblem. The overall shape also imitates the hieroglyphic sign of the ankh, meaning "life," which was also an Egyptian word for "mirror."

Credit Line

Gift of the Morgens West Foundation


From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2006 - Present
MCCM Newsletter, December 2005 - February 2006.|
Peter Lacovara and Jasper Gaunt, "From Pharaohs to Emperors: Egyptian, Near Eastern & Classical Antiquities at Emory," Minerva 17 (January/February 2006): 9-16.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2005.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Mirror,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 14, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/8034.

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