cheppum panthum origins

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Josef tryllekunstner
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cheppum panthum origins

Postby Josef tryllekunstner » September 15th, 2021, 12:31 pm

does anybody know where the idea of the cups and balls originating in the indus valley comes from? and what is the best source of information on the cheppum panthum?

Jeffrey Cowan
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Re: cheppum panthum origins

Postby Jeffrey Cowan » September 15th, 2021, 1:49 pm

I'm told that the late Gary Kosnitzsky's set and video is the best way to learn the trick. It's also the only detailed resource that I'm aware of in the 45+ years that I've been studying magic and reading its literature. See https://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S21156 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BOP1MihUlE
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Josef tryllekunstner
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Re: cheppum panthum origins

Postby Josef tryllekunstner » September 15th, 2021, 2:11 pm

Thank you, but I am more concerned with the history and especially the origin date of this trick.

Philippe Billot
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Re: cheppum panthum origins

Postby Philippe Billot » September 15th, 2021, 4:01 pm

Three books deal with the Indian (or Hindu) cups and balls

1947 - Hindoo Cups and Balls by John J. Platt
1956 - The Hindu Cups and Balls by Eddie Joseph
1983 - Indian Cups and Balls by P.K. Llango

You can read also:

The Indian Cups and Balls in Magic, Vol. 10, no. 5, may 1910
The Hindu Cups in Magic Magazine, Vol. 3, no. 11, february 1955

and also

1917 - The Indian "Cups and Balls" Trick in Supplementary Magic by Elbiquet

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: cheppum panthum origins

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 17th, 2021, 10:12 pm

Is there anything specific in there to point the trick to that region?

Consider the fuss from a newspaper magazine article which launched the "Indian Rope Trick" . Something more than second hand tales (see Marco Polo's adventures) is needed to make the case.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Marco Pusterla
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Re: cheppum panthum origins

Postby Marco Pusterla » September 18th, 2021, 9:42 am

A description, in English, of Indian performers doing the cups and balls is in an unrecorded broadside from 1814, describing the feats, both of juggling and magic, of the first troupe of Indian conjurers outside of India. I have discussed the arrival and early records of the "Campbell" troupe of conjurers in London, in my magazine, Ye Olde Magic Mag Vol. 4 #3 (June 2018). That broadside is probably the most verbose description of the feat: other early records of Indian jugglers performing with the cups and balls exist in newspaper reports, but they tend to just mention the feat and compare it to the western version.

The earliest reference to the cups and balls performed in India can be found in the Fihirist al-Ulum by al-Faraj Muhammad al-Nadim, from the middle of the tenth century, which mentions a book by one Qutb al-Rahha which apparently explained (or described) the feat, amongst other.

In none of these texts the cup (in Arab described with the word "shell") is described/depicted, and the earliest images of the Indian jugglers actually show cups similar to the European tradition (i.e. without the "handle" associated to Indian cups, the "cheppum panthum" you're enquirying). The indian kind of cup is described in English magic literature only from about 1895, in Mahatma and then, in 1910, in Stanyon's Magic, but I'm sure you're aware of these references.

Hope this helps.
Marco Pusterla - https://mpmagic.co.uk

Ye Olde Magic Mag: magazine on magic history and collecting.

Josef tryllekunstner
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Re: cheppum panthum origins

Postby Josef tryllekunstner » September 18th, 2021, 11:41 am

Thank you so much for the information regarding the "fihirist al-ulum" that's exactly what I was looking for. As far as evidence for the cups and balls in the indus valley, I have since discovered that the link was made because of similar shaped cups to the cheppum panthum as well as rounded pebbles found near them. Hardly substantial evidence.

Philippe Billot
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Re: cheppum panthum origins

Postby Philippe Billot » September 18th, 2021, 12:01 pm

"The indian kind of cup is described in English magic literature only from about 1895, in Mahatma and then, in 1910, in Stanyon's Magic, but I'm sure you're aware of these references."

Thank you, Marco, because I didn't know this reference of The Mahatma.

It's No. XI, may 1898, page 110. Indian Jugglery by Wm. E. Robinson


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