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Topic: Chinese Linking Rings
Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Feb 27, 2019 09:47AM)
Here is a clip from Wikipedia on the CLR:

"Chinese stage magician Ching Ling Foo (18541922) was one of the early performers of the linking rings in the form known today. A painting by Giacomo Mantegazza in 1876 showed a harem girl holding a set of rings above her head. Speculation about the rings' origin has been traced to Turkey, Egypt and the Middle East and as long ago as the 1st century."

That explains why we currently call this ring trick the Chinese linking rings.

I am interested in this right now because I finally got an English language copy of Jerome Cardano (1500s--The De Subtilitate of Girolamo Cardano, ed. John M. Forrester, 2013), who is cited in Christopher Milbourne's Illustrated History. Basically, Cardano witnessed a magician "uniting iron chains while the links remain intact--indeed, a greater feat, I have seen three rings thrown up and coming down interlinked, though they were unbroken and separate before and while being thrown up." (Vol. 2, p. 899) There is no indication that the magician was not European, but given the fact that Cardano was Spanish it could very well have been a North African magician. The description of magic tricks are in Volume 2, pp. 897-900, followed by a section on tight rope walkers (pp. 900-904; again that medieval/Renaissance link between magicians and other performers).

Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Feb 27, 2019 05:35PM)
Pete Biro's book on the linking rings speculates a bit in regard to the trick in Hocus Pocus Jr in which an apparently solid ring is linked with the cheek of the performer. Is it a really big leap from that to linking with other rings? Not really, but there's no magic book of the time that I've heard of that details the methodology used in that way. If I recall correctly (don't have time to dig up HPJ right now), there may even have been an indication of how to make it appear that the ring is being rotated through the hole that is (not) in the cheek. Just what any ring performer uses when showing the k*y ring.

Message: Posted by: HenryleTregetour (Mar 19, 2019 01:37PM)
IIRC a lot of the tricks like the ring in the cheek have sly substitutions whereby a spectator handles the object first.

Prevost has several.

And by the way, Prevost is incredible in terms of describing modus operandi, including several diagrams--maybe better than HPJ.

Goodness, I just love that book!