Seminar of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, “Solving the Mystery of the Triangular-rimmed Bronze Mirrors with Mythical Figure and Animal Designs – Materials, Techniques, Places of Manufacture.”

In the panel discussion, there was a lively debate on new interpretations regarding the manufacture of the triangular-rimmed bronze mirrors with mythical figure and animal designs.

 In-depth studies on the materials and manufacturing techniques of cultural properties provide important information that contributes to their conservation and restoration as well as their historical studies. This time, the triangular-rimmed bronze mirrors with mythical figure and animal designs, which have been excavated in large quantities from early tumuli, were selected as the topic of study. There has been an ongoing dispute about whether they are Wei mirrors or Japanese mirrors. We examined how historical information, such as when they were produced, can be derived from a study of information related to their manufacture, such as their materials and shape. As lecturers, we invited Professor Fukunaga Shin’ya, who brought epoch-making progress in the study of the triangular-rimmed bronze mirrors with mythical figure and animal designs by introducing the method of categorizing such mirrors according to the shape of knob holes and the lines on the outer circumference, and Dr. Mabuchi Hisao, who reached a new interpretation regarding the material of the mirrors by measuring the lead isotope ratio of many bronze wares. Mr. Namba Yozo and Mr. Saito Tsutomu joined the panel discussion and there was a lively exchange of views. Dr. Mabuchi suggested a new interpretation regarding the time of manufacture of the mirrors. It was truly a meaningful seminar that enabled us to understand the profoundness of historical study using natural scientific methods. (Friday, June 20, 2008 at the seminar room of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo; 60 participants)

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