The first mirrors ...

Dated from 6000 BC and found in Anatolia, the first manufactured mirrors were pieces of polished stone such as obsidian, a natural volcanic glass. Then, more reflective mirrors were created from copper or polished bronze in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt and China between 4000 and 2000 years BC. J-C.

The mirror becomes mythic

During the Greek antiquity, the antique mirror is a small bronze disc, domed, placed on a foot or equipped with a handle. According to Socrates, this auxiliary of the "know you, thyself" leads to surpass himself, and to triumph over his vices and weaknesses.

For Seneca, the mirror leads man to put his actions in harmony with his image. The reflection of his own white hair allows him to accept death better. But in practice, men have diverted the lesson from the mirror: Instead of seeing each other, they admired each other. Thus, in mythology, Narcissus yielded to the contemplation of his reflection in the water. In love with himself, he died of despair.

What do the mirrors hide?

In the Middle Ages appeared the glass mirror

A luxury item in a gold or silver frame that will also be subject to all fantasies.

For the Church, the use of the mirror has a double symbolism. It facilitates introspection which is then a salutary moral function ... But, it is also considered as an object mystifying the reality: Grossing, deforming and fragmenting the reflection of men.

Later, the Inquisition will judge the mirror as the favourite paraphernalia of the witches.

Divinations, revelations, spell, he would also enclose demons and possess it would make of his owner, a heretic; at least it is said...

The Golden Age of the Mirror

The apology of the appearance knew its apotheosis in the seventeenth century

 

Glass craftsmen then developed new processes, notably using blown glass. The best artisans are then found in Venice on the island of Murano, where glassmakers develop a material as clear as rock crystal, which makes the mirror more brilliant.

In France, the technique known as flowing, make possible to obtain mirrors of quality in large dimensions.

The Versailles Gallery of Mirrors is the best example, and the Royal Manufacture of glasses and mirrors founded in 1665 was the main manufacturer.The mirror then becomes an object of goldsmithing, a symbol of wealth and power.

Our mirrors, reflections of our societies?

During the 20th century, table top mirrors became a standard, part of the bedroom and bathroom. Mirrors will play a crucial and everyday role in our consumer society.


The look of others and the concern of the given image become marketing arguments used by brands.

Magnifying, luminous or custom-made, the mirror allows to apply facial cosmetic treatments and to change the dress look according to its silhouette.

While for centuries, the mirror sometimes seems to play with men, we can rather wonder how men will play with mirrors in the future ... Mirrors always invite to think.