• Kyodo

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Some of the bronze mirrors linked to Queen Himiko of the third-century Yamatai Kingdom were likely made in China, according to a Kyoto museum’s analysis of the mirrors released Saturday.

Archaeologists have been debating whether the mirrors, known in Japanese as “sankakubuchi shinjukyo,” were made in Japan, or produced in China and given to Queen Himiko, as described in an ancient Chinese document.

Hundreds of the round bronze mirrors, which have a triangular shape in the cross section of the edges and carvings of deities and sacred animals, have been unearthed in many parts of Japan, but none in China. The mirrors are a little larger than 20 cm in diameter.

Researchers compared the composition of the elements in the museum’s collection of eight sankakubuchi shinjukyo mirrors with 69 Chinese-made ancient bronze mirrors from the third century B.C. to the third century A.D. and 18 Japanese-made bronze mirrors from the third to the sixth centuries.

The proportions of the substances were found almost the same in six of the sankakubuchi shinjukyo mirrors and Chinese mirrors made in the third century, the researchers said.

The components of the substances of the remaining two, meanwhile, are almost the same as Japanese-made mirrors, according to the researchers.

The finding indicates the sankakubuchi shinjukyo and Chinese mirrors were likely made in the same place at the same time, they said.

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