Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Oldest Trick in the Book

A few weeks ago we used a picture of some 4000 year old engravings from an Egyptian tomb in a post. Then we focused on the jugglers. This time we take a look at the magicians, if that is what they are.
"The cemetery — called Beni Hasan (also Bani Hasan, or Beni-Hassan) — contains 150 tombs, and the image of the jugglers is found in what is known as the 15th tomb. The tomb dates back to around 4,000 years ago, between 1994 and 1781 B.C.  
 The markings seems to depict the first ever visual representation of Showmen. Last time the picture showed jugglers, but on the same wall there are also two figures that could be seen as magicians doing one of the, literally, the oldest trick in the book, in this case a wall.
Even if we disregard the interpretation of the hieroglyphs as magicians the cups and balls still remains the earliest trick depicted. In a 15th century painting by Hieronymus Bosch we see the trick portrayed so there is no doubt of what's going on.

The Conjuror - circa 1474

In the following clip the brilliant magical duo of Penn and Teller pays homage to the archeological depictions and a trick with a very rich history, with characteristically irreverent and clever versions of the routine.

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