This page is hosted on AFS file server space, which is being shut down on November 13, 2018. If you are seeing this message, your service provider needs to take steps now. Visit afs.unc.edu for more information.

Celtic Design and the Aston Mirror

When held in the hand, with the handle downward, the Aston mirror presents a slightly symmetrical pattern of 3 small circles floating within 3 larger circles.

Mirror in hand
Smaller circles Larger circles
Handle

When the mirror is hung on the wall, with the handle pointing upward, it is possible to discern the abstract forms of two birds, or the cartoon-like forms of a face with crossed eyes.

Hanging mirror
Bird Face

The ambiguity is created by the extreme abstraction. The viewer is left puzzling: did I really see a bird, or a human face, or is it just my imagination? Visual punning is particularly evident when the mirror and its decoration is considered in light of its function.

 

Aston mirror