Mirror Mirror On The…

wall painting from the ‘stanzino delle matematiche’ in the galleria degli uffizi

wall painting from the ‘stanzino delle matematiche’ in the galleria degli uffizi (florence, italy). painted by giulio parigi, 1599-1600.



in greek mythology, the mathematician archimedes
invented giant mirrors that used the sun to set roman
warships afire during an attack on syracuse in 212 B.C.,

narcissus, looking into the water, did not understand that
he saw his own reflection, and fell in love with himself,

another legend has it that the hero perseus killed medusa
by using a mirrored shield. the creature was so hideous
that any human who made eye contact with her was
immediately turned to stone.
by watching the reflection of monster in his shield,
perseus used his sword to slice off medusa’s head without
having to look directly at her.

another example, this time from the german tales of the
brothers grimm, is snow white, in which the wicked queen
consults a magic mirror to determine the identity of the most
beautiful woman in the world….




a short history of mirror production

the first mirrors
were likely to be a pool of water where one could observe
their reflection. ancient and primitive mirrors were typically
made of polished stone (obsidian in stone age turkey,
and pre-columbian peru), perhaps wetted to make them more

egypt copper mirrors
long before man was able to make mirrors out of glass,
mirrors made of metal (copper, bronze, silver, tin, etc.) were
used. sheets of metal were flattend and polished until it could
be used as a mirror. rounded forms, disks, sometimes with
a design on the back, and usually with a handle.

roman glass mirrors
following pliny, natural history, glass mirrors were invented
at sidon in the first century AD.
surviving examples date earliest to the second century AD.
after the discovery of glass making, the romans made mirrors
out of glass by finishing them with a metall layer.
in roman graves dating from the second and third century
there were also found pieces of glass covered with lead.

middle ages
after the discovery of glassblowing in the 14th century,
mirrors were made out of glass bulbs.
after cooling the bulbs, they were cut in pieces, thus forming
little hollow (convex) mirrors.
(although these mirrors did not have a perfect reflection,
people did not mind at all.
the mirrors available previous at that time, were made out of
metall which wasn’t flat and had an even worse reflection).

renaissance mercury mirror
a method of backing a plate of flat glass with a thin
sheet of reflecting metal (tin/mercury amalgam –
the reflecting layer of mercury on mirrors existed out of
75% of tin and approximatly 25% mercury. )
came into widespread production on the italian island of
murano, near venice during the 16th century.
the mirror-makers perfected a method of backing larger
sheets of glass. in the first act of industrial espionage,
the french under louis XIV bribed murano experts to come
to paris. after apparent threats and poisonings, they returned
to italy, but by then it was too late, and the hall of mirrors
at versailles was one result.
also in germany and in belgium this method was already
being used. the exact ingredients and procedure were kept
secret for a long time.
producing a mirror was a complicated and delicate process,
therefor these mirrors were very expensive.
from then on, mirrors got bigger, cheaper, and more pervasive.
on top of that, the production was very unhealthy, due to the
fact that mercury fumes are very toxic.

19th century silver mirror
the chemical process of coating a glass surface with metallic
silver was discovered in the 19th century.
this advance inaugurated the modern techniques of mirror making.
the technique is said to be invented by the german justus von
liebig in 1835.

present-day mirrors
are made by sputtering a thin layer of molten aluminum or silver
onto the back of a plate of glass in a vacuum.




why does the mirror reverse left to right and not top
to bottom?

the mathematical or geometrical version of the question is:
‘why does a chiral object (such as a right hand or glove) appear
as an object of opposite chirality (left hand or glove) in the mirror?’
the answer is that chirality of the three-dimensional space is
dictated by the choice of the directions of the three axes.
when the direction of one axis is reversed, as is the case in a
mirror image, the chirality of space changes to the opposite one.
if two mirrors are set side by side (with, say, a 90° angle
between them), the axes in the doubly reflected image are
inverted twice and the handedness of the image is not changed.
in such a double mirror, a right hand looks like a right hand.
this set-up lets you see how you really look, but most people find
it very difficult at first to use a mirror like this for shaving.


common uses

whether hand-held, wall-mounted, or standing, most mirrors
have been placed in frames. mirrors are used
– for inspecting parts of one’s body which
are difficult or impossible to see directly, such as the
face, neck or the whole body.
– for self-contemplation.
– rear-view mirrors are applied in and on vehicles (such as
cars, or bicycles), to allow drivers to see other vehicles
coming up behind them.
– rounded (convex) mirrors are sometimes placed at road
junctions, and corners of places such as parking lots
allowing people to see around corners to avoid crashing
into other vehicles.
– mirrors are also sometimes used as part of security systems,
so that a single video camera can show more than one
angle at a time.
– interior decoration to create an illusion of space
– the use of mirrors for ‘cutting’ and snorting cocaine.
– the classic ‘mirror on the ceiling’ for use during sex …
(the story of hostius quadra, a roman who had a giant
metallic concave mirror in which his orgies were magnified.)
– telescopes and other precision instruments use front
silvered or first surface mirrors, where the reflecting
surface is placed on the front (or first) surface of the
glass, in order to eliminate faint reflections from the
glass itself (which gives better image quality).
modern thermonuclear weapons use x-ray mirrors…


By Artist, Photographer Carrie Mae Weems

By Artist, Photographer Carrie Mae Weems



what does it take to recognize oneself in a mirror?
humans are among the few animals who can recognize
themselves in mirrors, along with a few other apes
(chimps, orangutans, bonobos), and perhaps dolphins and
the ‘mirror stage’ when children first recognize themselves
is widely understood as a critical phase of human development.

there is an interestig recent sociological experiment –
the biami, an isolated papua new guinea tribe,
had never seen a mirror until the mid-1970s.
(although a few biami men had scraps of mirrors,
about the size of coins, obtained through distant trade,
but these scraps were too small for image reflection
and were treasured simply as light reflectors).
anthropologists recorded their reactions when looking
for the first tme into a mirror:
reactions of terror and anguish, they were paralyzed.
after their first startled response,
covering their mouths and ducking their heads,
they stood transfixed, staring at their images,
only their stomach muscles betraying great tension…

magical mirrors
mystic people all over the world stare into reflective objects
– mirrors, oil, water, crystal balls, knives …-
and go into a sort of trance.
this was already practiced by olmec shamans,
greek priestesses, roman magicians, and medieval wizards.

it is a common superstition that someone who breaks a
mirror will receive seven years of bad luck.
the ancient egyptians, as well as the etruscans, romans,
and many other cultures, buried people with mirrors,
probably because these magical surfaces were thought
to capture the soul and help preserve it in the afterlife.
similarly, the chinese thought that demons only became
visible in mirrors, so they put them on their backs to
defend themselves from malevolent forces.

when two mirrors reflect one other, the endless abyss
of mirrors-in-mirrors created between them might form
a kind of spectral architecture.
jules verne had an idea about using mirrors for space travel,
where the infinite reflection travels an infinite distance in
negligible time. this was derived from a story by edgar allen
poe involving a man trapped between two mirrors by the
infinite distance between himself and his reflections.

mirror and sex
do it in the dark!
but not always…

have fun with mirrors!
you might get more secure with your body,
and if you feel uninhibited with your partner,
having sex in front of a mirror or two can be very exciting
for both of you. with mirrors you can change positions and
angles, if what you see is not turning you on.
it’s easy to move around to find an attractive view.


4 Responses

  1. heheee..kinky 😛

  2. Let me guess…..you skipped everything else and started reading Mirror and sex! 😆

    Well like they say…SEX SELLS! ha ha

    Oh and did you leave a boyfriend behind in Solo? 😛

  3. pls lor..i read all okay..hahaahhah.. and hahahah..no..i went solo alone.. SOLO..u know..hahaha… 😛

  4. Orh…. 😆

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