Here at Steamed Studio, we specialise in handmade steam-bent wooden mirrors. We have three styles to choose from; Belvedere, Fiore and Piras. Each style is made by hand in our studio in England for a unique finish.
Mirrors have long been a popular furnishing accessory in homes. In this article, we will delve into the history of mirrors, and what they symbolise in different countries around the world. We’re also going to explore popular sayings such as ‘breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck’ and how mirrors have become a household necessity.
Image source: Mirror Lights Mirroring – Free photo on Pixabay
The history of mirrors
The history of mirrors dates back to 6000 B.C. The first mirrors were rounded and made of metal, and it was the Romans who later created the first glass mirror. Mirrors have long possessed unique features and beliefs around them. For example, the Greek philosopher Socrates advised young men to examine themselves in the mirror, and those who were handsome should concentrate on maintaining a pure conscience and avoiding temptations that would lead them astray. If a young man felt unattractive, he could make up for it with good deeds and gain a good reputation.
During Medieval times, glass mirrors completely disappeared because religious authoritarians believed that the Devil saw the world from the other side of the glass. The return of glass mirrors was during the 13th century, and they were somewhat curved outward. Using the technology at the time, professional glaziers poured hot tin into glass tubs, waited for it to cool, and then broke it into individual pieces.
Flat mirrors were developed by Venetian masters three centuries later. They discovered a way to fasten the tin to a flat piece of glass.
The first mirror production facility opened in Nuremberg, Germany 1373. Mirrors were also used in mystery rituals and witchcraft during the 16th century. Even The Bible was written in “mirror reflection”, making it difficult to decipher the message without a mirror.
Today, mirrors are made by taking a thin layer of molten aluminium or silver and then adding it to glass in a vacuum. This has made producing mirrors faster than ever.
What do mirrors symbolise?
Mirrors physically reflect light and our surroundings. Light indicates illumination, consciousness, knowledge, and other spiritual concepts. Mirrors thus reflect truth in terms of spiritual symbolism. They represent reality. However, psychology completely disagrees and turns this symbolism on its head. Psychology sees mirrors as representing the dividing line between the conscious and unconscious minds. One can supposedly peer into the depths of their unconsciousness by gazing into a mirror.
Mirrors are generally symbolic of spiritual and psychological depth. They don’t just reveal our appearance. They can reveal who we are on a deeper level.
Generally speaking, mirrors represent a person’s depth of soul and mind. They have the power to deeply disclose who we truly are.
Below is a list of key symbolic meanings behind mirrors, along with an explanation:
Holding a mirror in front of our faces can reveal our true physical appearance. However, the word “mirror” can also refer to a reflection of our true selves underneath the surface when used metaphorically.
Some believe that mirrors contain enormous amounts of wisdom and understanding. That is because a mirror spends the days silently watching from a wall or table. If mirrors could speak, they would surely have a lot to reveal.
When we advise someone to “take a look in the mirror”, we are suggesting that the person needs to consider what they’re doing/saying to become aware of their flaws. Here, the mirror is employed to assist a person in realising the need for self-evaluation and behaviour modification.
Vanity and narcissism
People who stare at the mirror for an excessive amount of time are often described as vain or obsessed with themselves. This indicates that they are more preoccupied with their outward appearance than their personality.
Although we frequently think mirrors reflect reality, they can also be deceptive. When mirrors are convex or concave, they can exaggerate our height or weight. They can also alter how far or close an object seems relative to its distance. As a result, when mirrors are bent to create a distorted image, their symbolism often represents deception rather than truth.
Also, our mirror reflections are reversed compared to what others see when they look at us. Your peers are familiar with your non-reversed image, while you are familiar with your reversed image in a mirror.
Bad luck (broken mirror)
Ever heard of the phrase “seven years of bad luck if you break a mirror”? This stems back to the beliefs of the ancient Greeks and Chinese. It probably derives from the notion that a mirror reflects your soul and that shattering a mirror thus traps your soul inside. But relax; if you happen to break a mirror in the future, all is not lost for seven years. Legend says the curse is lifted if you bury the mirror shards during a full moon – phew!
Mirrors in homes today
Today, mirrors are used in interior design for aesthetic and practical benefits. Arguably, they are one of the most versatile pieces of home décor. You can utilise a mirror to entirely change the look of almost any area in your home, from reflecting light for better brightness to creating the illusion of extra space, plus offering plenty of practical spots to stop and check your reflection – hallways, bathrooms, etc. To read more about how mirrors can transform your home, read our guide on wooden framed mirrors. If you’re interested in the ancient practice of feng shui and how it applies to mirrors, we have an article on that, too: Where to hang wooden mirrors for good feng shui.
Happy reading, and don’t forget to browse through our stunning range of handmade wooden framed mirrors.