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Mysterious Elizabethan Mirror


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When Elizabeth I’s scientific adviser and “philosopher” John Dee died in 1609 at the age of 81 he left behind a trove of unusual artifacts. Among them was his speculum, a hand mirror made of polished obsidian (volcanic glass), that was also known as “the Devil’s Looking-Glass.” This mystical device for talking to the dead was coveted by his peers and later generations; it was acquired by politician and writer Horace Walpole before winding its way into the British Museum, where it resides today. Despite its popularity, however, the mirror’s history was shrouded in mystery. A just-published scientific study has tracked its origins to 16th century Mexico and the religious rituals of the Aztecs.


The Aztec Origins of a Mysterious Elizabethan Mirror (thedailybeast.com)



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