Celtic Mirrors

One of the most beautiful items of Celtic treasure are mirrors. These were owned by well-off ladies and were made of bronze. One side was polished brightly for the lady to see herself. The back and handle were usually decorated, with engraved lines and shapes.

Often spaces between lines were filled with 'hatching' - little marks cut into the bronze, to make an area 'darker', so the overall pattern stands out better. It is these decorations that make many Celtic mirrors great works of art.

Look at the examples of some mirrors found in Britain on this page. Some people think they can see pictures within the curls and swirls - leaves, faces, birds, and other animals. What can you see?

Mirrors usually had a loop on the bottom of the handle, so they could be hung on the wall. This means often you would see the back of the mirror upside down, and some experts think you should try to see the images this way round. Experts also say that the mirror patterns were always based on three sections - three lobes, or roughly circular areas, linked together.

The Celts of Britain produced some amazing mirrors, which are not equalled by anything in Europe. Over time the patterns grew more and more elaborate. Which is your favourite?

The Desborough Mirror (in the British Museum)

The Birdlip mirror




The Great Chesterford mirror

Mirror found in Oxfordshire


Mirror found at Aston

Old Warden mirror