‘How do I look, what does my face tell me?’ Day for day we rely on mirrors to inform us about how we look and how we feel. The mirror is a lifelong companion with whom we usually harbour an intimate, although at times self-forgotten and distanced relationship. But what do we actually know about the mirror, its history and usage, and what do mirrors have to say about us?

This is the first time that an exhibition takes a global look at the cultural history of the mirror, stretching back thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, among the Maya of Mexico, in Japan, in Venice, as well as in the world of modern art and movies – over the ages civilizations across the globe have produced and relied on mirrors, and ascribed to them varying meanings and powers.

Based on 220 artworks from 95 museums and collections worldwide, we reveal the eventful craft history and technological development of this reflective medium, along with its cultural and social significance across the ages. We look at mirrors in their quality as artefacts but also address themes such as self-awareness, vanity and wisdom, beauty, mysticism and magic, and, last but not least, the latest mirror craze in the form of the selfie.






CHF 25 / CHF 20 reduced

Supported by: Vontobel-Stiftung, Parrotia-Stiftung, Clariant Foundation, Swiss Re, Max Kohler Stiftung, Eckhart und Marie-Jenny Koch-Burckhardt