Linking Rings History

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Postby Guest » 02/12/03 10:23 AM

Hi, does anybody know any sources about the linking rings, except that they are very old and from China?

Thank you,
Andi
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/12/03 10:43 AM

Yes, they are old... and I really don't think they originated in China.

I have sources that say a performer in Spain entertained the crown heads of Belgium before any printed material came from the Orient.

My opinion, based on lots of study and research?

Egyptian magicians started it and it travelled East AND West on the silk and trade routes.

The "so called" famous Chinese troupe that many wrote that "Phillipe" saw do the rings??? Topper Martyn advised me that they (the Chinese) in that touring troupe DID NOT do the rings.

I have a facsimile copy of the first known instruction sheet, from a Japanese collector... however sources describing the rings in Europe pre-date this. I don't have the material handy or I could quote you the dates.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/12/03 10:45 AM

In addition, I have a photo that I took at an archeological digs near a Roman Theater from around 400 BC that shows (in a display case) what looks to be a couple of rings and a key ring, without any description.

I also have pictures from an Italian museum showing rings in a little stack with a "key" (or broken?) ring...

Lots to ponder.
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Postby Michael Edwards » 02/12/03 10:53 AM

I'm not an expert on this one, but most sources do suggest that -- whatever there actual origin --the Linking Rings were introduced into Europe early in the nineteenth century by a troupe of Chinese magicians. Several accounts credit what is believed to be the first company of Chinese "jugglers" that appeared in London's West End in 1830 with their introduction. We know that the effect was quickly adopted by Western conjurers. The English magician M. Jacobs (18??-1870)performed the Linking Rings as early as 1834. Two years later, the great French conjurer Philippe (Jacques Andre Noel Talon 1802-1878) added the effect to his repetoire, claiming to have been taught the trick by these Chinese magicians whom he met in Dublin. Whether this is true or not (see Pete's posting above), the fact remains that the Linking Rings quickly became a high point of Philippe's act.

As for whether the effect actually has a Chinese link, Reverend Doolittle's 1867 work The Social Life of the Chinese recounts his years as a missionary in China and notes the Linking Rings as a common form of popular entertainment at the time. Of course, I'd accept Pete's view that the effect may well be early Egyptian in origin. After all, he was there :D

I hope this helps.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/12/03 12:18 PM

The Spaniard was doing the rings in the 1500s, and I have a drawing of a "Hindu" doing the rings at a very early date as well.

Yes I was there in Egypt and can also tell you the Milbourne Christopher article about the Egyptian tomb art showing the cups and balls is bogus... they are molding bread... if you look at the drawings alongside, you see it is in an agricultural setting.

And yes Michael me bucko... am still compiling the book "History of the Linking Rings" which will be published by Stevens Magic... ;)
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Postby Guest » 02/12/03 02:13 PM

I have a portion of a painting by Giacomo Mantegazza painted in 1876 called Une Soiree Oisive au Serail posted on my site that has an interesting presentation of the rings you might like to see.
you can look at it here http://members.aol.com/payne/art.htm
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 02/12/03 03:49 PM

There's a review of the book "An Illustrated History of White Magic before Robert-Houdin" (English Edition) on the Magical Past-Times website:

http://www.uelectric.com/pastimes/guillemin.htm
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/12/03 04:54 PM

Great source, gotta find and buy the book.
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Postby Gary Hunt » 02/15/03 09:19 PM

Pete,
You can order a copy from Clay Shevlin for $48 postpaid at: Clay H. Shevlin, 615 S. Mohawk Drive, Santa Ana, CA, USA 92704. Let me know if you need his e-mail address.

Glad to hear you are still working on the book, any idea when it will be published?

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Postby Pete Biro » 02/15/03 10:01 PM

I'd like his email address. Thanks... publishing date? Yikes... I gotta get back to serious work on the page layouts... :eek:
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