Magic History 101: Oriental Magic

Posted by Peter Monticup on 7/29/2020 to Magic History 101

Why do some of the old classic tricks have a Chinese or Hindu theme?
The "Orient"- India and China- were long considered very exotic places, with cultural secrets that intrigued and fascinated audiences in the Western Hemisphere.
Calling a magic trick "Chinese" or "Indian" or "Hindu" immediately gave the trick a more mysterious quality and made it seem more interesting.
Using Chinese or Hindi symbols and imagery to decorate the tricks also elevated common magic effects to something much more special.

Many of the famous magic performers of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries created "Oriental" stage characters and performed at least part of their shows as these characters.
The most famous, of course, was Chung Ling Soo, who took the charade to a whole new level by pretending to be "Oriental" even when offstage.
The colorful fabrics and distinctive hairstyles favored by the ancient cultures also made for a very visually exciting stage show.


Date 8/4/2020
Mr. G.
Very interesting history and explained well. Nice to know facts to go along with many magic props! Thank you Peter!!

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