The dating of chinese bronze mirrors updating a column in oracle
Sons and daughters-in-law are supposed to wear a utility belt that includes metal and wood (two of the Five Phases) suì fire-starters: jīnsuì 金燧 "burning-mirror" and a mùsuì 木燧 "fire-drill", which implies that fire-mirrors were quite commonly used among the ancient Chinese (Forke 1911: 497).From the left and right of the girdle [a son] should hang their articles for use—on the left side, the duster and handkerchief, the knife and whetstone, the small spike, and the metal speculum for getting fire from the sun [金燧]; on the right, the archer's thimble for the thumb and the armlet, the tube for writing instruments, the knife-case [or "needle-case" for a daughter-in-law], the larger spike, and the borer for getting fire from wood [木燧]. Legge 1885 27: 449, 450) Zheng Xuan's Liji commentary glosses musui as zuānhuǒ 鑽火 "produce fire by friction".When placed before the moon—the ultimate yin 陰 phenomenon in the world—they respond with water: the pure essence of yin.Thus mirrors offer the paradigm for proper responsiveness: they reflect the true essence of the ultimate yin and yang—the alpha and omega of phenomena in early Chinese cosmology." (Carr and Ivanhoe 2000: 56) Erin Cline says the early Chinese attributed mirrors to have a mysterious power and great religious significance."Certainly this mirror symbolized a powerful connection with the greater powers of the heavens and, as such, would have served admirably as a model for the [xin]." For the early Chinese, mirrors were not simply passive "reflectors" of information, they offered accurate and appropriate responses to whatever came before them.When placed before the sun—the ultimate yang 陽 phenomenon in the world—they respond with fire: the pure essence of yang.The ceremonial bronze fusui 夫遂 and yangsui 陽燧 mirrors were seen as active, responsive objects because they could be used to produce fire and water (two of the Five Phases).When placed outside, concave mirrors focused sunlight to produce fire, while bronze mirrors gathered condensation in the light of the moon.
The first two sources below are "ritual texts" of uncertain dates, and the others are presented chronologically. 2nd century BCE) Zhouli "Zhou Rites" is a compilation of Eastern Zhou (771-256 BCE) texts about government bureaucracy and administration.
It is because the myriad things are unable to disturb his mind that he is still.
When water is still, it clearly reflects whiskers and brows.
It is so accurate that the great craftsman takes his standard from it.
If still water has such clarity, how much more so pure spirit!It describes two kinds of ritual officials making the purifying "new fire".