The Freud Museum

Engraved Mirror

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3082, Engraved Mirror, Late 4th early 3rd century B.C.

Culture: Etruscan
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: 9 5/8 x 6 _ in 24.5 x 16.6 cm

Thousands of Etruscan mirrors have been unearthed in Italy. They were an important mark of status for Etruscan women, and were often decorated in scenes of female adornment or mythology, especially involving the goddess of love. Most mirrors have been discovered in tombs, suggesting that for women adornment was considered important in both life and death. The verso of these mirrors was undecorated and highly polished to reflect the image of its owner.

The scene on Freud’s mirror depicts four figures. In the centre is an armed warrior with his arm around an almost nude woman. On the left of the pair is another warrior and on the right is Athena, goddess of war. Apart from Athena, the identity of the figures is unclear. However, they may represent the abduction of Helen by Theseus or the recovery of Helen after the sack of Troy by her husband, Menelaus, both of which are myths found on other examples of Etruscan mirrors.

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