Possibly Southeast Europe
3 3/16 × 1 1/2 × 1/16 in. (8.1 × 3.9 × 0.2 cm)
0.755 oz. (21.4 g)
Long-term Loan from the Estate of Boris Blick, 2015
Purchased by Boris Blick at the Granta Coins & Antiquities Shop in Cambridge, England in 2000.
Lead has oxidized. Bottom right corner of the handle has chipped off while all edges are roughened. Center of circular mirror missing glass, × inside circle behind where glass would be remains, but bottom two limbs of × are fractured near where they cross.
Delaney Marrs (’26), October 2023
At the center of this lead frame, small enough to be held on an open palm, is an empty space where once there would have been a mirror. Two concentric circles frame where the mirror would have been, reminiscent of the symbol for mirrors in Roman times: two concentric circles, often with a dot in the middle. Such symbols, as well as mirrors themselves, were believed to be apotropaic, and as such this mirror could have served (or been given) as an amulet and possibly even buried with a person as protection. The small size of this mirror further suggests it was not used as a reflective surface, but more likely as an easily portable amulet. Surrounding the detailing of the two concentric circles is overlapping semi-circle detailing. Diagonal marks cover the remaining space between the semi-circles and another ridged circular outline, this one following the edges of the artifact. The handle, whose presence suggests this was a stand-alone mirror rather than part of a box or other object, is adorned with thicker ridged diagonal marks. All of this serves to emphasize that this was the front of the mirror, the other side being a smooth, unadorned surface save for some roughness from oxidation and a circle within which is an × behind where the glass would have rested, possibly serving to support it. Some glass, inside the innermost circle, is still present, mainly in the upper left of the center, but it is severely corroded. It touches the limbs of the ×, and, from the back, a silver glint suggests further that it is glass. Arcing up from either side of the lower half of the handle to the bottom of the circular mirror-rim are two side bars while, on the top of the object, there is a small, somewhat squared semi-circle protrusion.
Delaney Marrs (’26)