For over a thousand years, a rare type of Chinese artifact has been baffling researchers. It’s a polished bronze mirror with a pattern cast on its reverse side. The polished surface appears normal and can be used as a regular mirror. But when a bright light is shone on the mirror face and the reflected light is projected on to a surface, the pattern decorating the reverse face mysteriously appears in the projected reflection, as if the solid bronze mirror had become transparent. The Chinese name for these mirrors is t’ou kuang ching, literally “light transmitting mirrors”. In English they are called by various names such as “light penetrating mirror” or “magic mirrors”.
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