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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits in
the Americas

'Magical' mirror

AOA 1825,12-10.16

'Magical' mirror

From: Mexico (Aztec)
Date: AD 1325-1521

This mirror is made of obsidian. Obsidian is a kind of black glass created naturally by lava from volcanoes. The Aztecs used obsidian mirrors to help them see things which were normally invisible. For example, if their son or daughter was sick, they would look at the child's reflection in the mirror. If it was clear, they would get better, but if it was shadowy, their soul was lost and they would die.

One of the most powerful Aztec gods was Tezcatlipoca, the god of rulers, warriers and sorcerers. His name means "Smoking Mirror".