Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Magic Mirrors of Ink

While painting magic words onto a talisman, a magician of old spilled a puddle of ink and discovered something marvelous. Reflecting and absorbing light at one and the same time, an inkblot is a magic mirror.

Egyptian magicians use magic mirrors of ink to open one's eyes "in a supernatural manner," to make one's sight pierce into "the invisible world." Magic mirrors of ink are poured onto parchment and empowered by beseeching two genii whose names are Tarshun and Taryooshun. Traditionally, the persons best equipped to gaze into a magic mirror of ink are prepubescent boys, virgins, pregnant women, and dark-skinned bondswomen. For a detailed account of the preparation of a magic mirror of ink and the visions it granted, see Jorge Luis Borges' The Mirror of Ink (1998), pages 1-5, or An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (1890), pages 247-252.

Here's a link to artist Teresita Fernandez's "Ink Mirror (Landscape)," a slab of highly-polished black fiberglass.

1 comment:

Gordon said...

Very interesting! I'm reminded of the inky darkness of scrying mirrors, too.