Based on our previously reported annular subaperture reconstruction algorithm with Zernike annular polynomials and matrix method, we provide an experimental demonstration by testing a parabolic mirror with the complementary annular subaperture interferometric method. By comparing the results of annular subaperture method with that of the classical auto-collimation method, it is shown that the reconstruction results are in good agreement with the auto-collimation measurement. In addition, we discuss some limitations of characterizing annular subaperture measurement data with finite Zernike coefficients in our algorithm, and also show the possibility of characterizing higher spatial frequency information with adequate Zernike coefficients. It is believable that the reported method can be extended to test the surface shape of some large concave aspheric mirrors with acceptable accuracy. (c) 2007 Optical Society of America.