Courting Mirror

CMC PCD 94-318-087

Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia; early 20th century; painted wood, mirror; 32.5 x 32 x 2 cm. CMC 77-166

Many folk art objects have multiple layers of cultural meaning. A superficially simple object may have a specific function, but may also represent an orthodox belief system or superstition. Mirrors such as this one were occasionally presented as courting gifts. Aside from being pleasingly decorative, they were a declaration of the values of the maker's community. The anchor represents hope, the cross faith, and the heart-shaped mirror charity or love. Mirror fragments are also used as a folk religious device, inset in gifts to ward off the evil eye.