Tuesday, 28 June 2011 12:20
Everyday I stand in front of a very large mirror. My clients sit in front of mirrors. We give clients hand mirrors to check out their hair or makeup. So I started to wonder about the history of mirrors. Mirrors have had a long and colorful journey throughout history. These days there is not a single home in the U.S. that doesn’t have a mirror. Mirrors have become part of our everyday routine, most often unappreciated.
The mirror history starts in the III Century BC. Most ancient mirrors were made from metal and had a round shape and were beautifully decorated on the backside. The first glass mirrors were invented in I Century by Romans. Socrates even gave advice to young men when they looked in the mirror. In Medieval period, glass mirrors disappeared because many religious confessions stated that the devil was looking and watching the world from the opposite side of a glass mirror. Mirrors came back in the 13th Century, but were bowed slightly making it hard to hang on the walls. Later, Venetian masters invented a “flat mirror technique”. They figured out how to attach tin to a flat glass surface. Venetian masters invented another trick. They created a special reflective mixture in which gold and bronze was added. The cost of one Venetian mirror then was comparable to the cost of a large naval ship. In the 15th Century the Venetian Island of Murano became the glass making center. They officially created the “Council of Ten” to protect this mirror making secret. The master glassmakers were secretly taken to the island of Murano to make mirrors. Eventually, the secrets of how the mirrors were made was told when the minister of Ludwig XIV bribed three Murano master glass makers. In 17th Century Russia, mirrors were considered a sin.
From this time on many superstitions surrounded mirrors. Breaking a mirror was a sign of bad luck for seven years. Soldiers took mirrors to reflect death away from them. Now, when you see your reflection in a mirror you might think about it differently.
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