However, the team recently unearthed the trove of mirrors and some high glass is still well-preserved and were found in tombs containing remains of both men and women.
One of the mirrors shows four Chinese characters: jia chang fu gui, which roughly translates to ‘home of prosperity.’
Researchers involved with excavations say the giant cemetery was dedicated to the dynasty’s upper-class residents, which may explain why they were buried with exquisite mirrors.
A team from the University of Hon Kong recently studied different Chinese bronze mirrors and in the study they wrote:
‘Modern scholar Liang thought the ancient Chinese got the inspiration of creating a reflective surface to see the world from looking at still water in a lake or pond.’
The earliest mirror was discovered in Gansu Province and dates back to the the Neolithic period’s Qijia culture some 4,000 years ago.
Although the looking glasses became more advanced over time, it was not until the Han Dynasty did the industry begin to flourish.
During this time period, people began to produce them in vast amounts. All of which were created in clay mold castings, allowing people to add intricate details and lettering to accompany the mirrors.
‘An archaeological excavation of a mirror workshop dated to the Western Han dynasty in Shandong province, P. R. China proved this practice was employed. Before clay molds, stone molds were used,’ reads the study published in the Heritage Science Journal.
Most of the ancient Chinese mirrors contain mostly copper and tin, along with traces of lead. Bronze mirrors were polished after casting to make the surface as smooth as possible to render the best reflective property.
Unlike other bronze objects the mirror has a specific and special function so the reflective surface has to be treated to increase the reflective effectiveness.
‘The newly discovered mirrors are great references for archaeologists to further study the material culture of the early and middle periods of the Western Han Dynasty,’ an archaeologist in Xi’an told the Global Times.
‘They are also excellent examples of the aesthetic taste of ancient Chinese and possess both historical and artistic values.’
The Han Dynasty is considered a golden age in Chinese history with advances in science and medicine as well as the flourishing of poetry, literature and beautiful artwork.
Archaeologists have uncovered a number of wonders, tombs and even ancient wines that date back to this era.
For example, pulleys and wheelbarrows were made to move goods, bellows used to aid furnaces and water-powered hammers to smash grain.