The symbolism of mirrors - Steamed Studio (2024)

Here at Steamed Studio, we specialise in handmade steam-bent wooden mirrors. We have three styles to choose from; Belvedere, Fiore and Piras. Each style is made by hand in our studio in England for a unique finish.

Mirrors have long been a popular furnishing accessory in homes. In this article, we will delve into the history of mirrors, and what they symbolise in different countries around the world. We’re also going to explore popular sayings such as ‘breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck’ and how mirrors have become a household necessity.

Image source: Mirror Lights Mirroring – Free photo on Pixabay

The history of mirrors

The history of mirrors dates back to 6000 B.C. The first mirrors were rounded and made of metal, and it was the Romans who later created the first glass mirror. Mirrors have long possessed unique features and beliefs around them. For example, the Greek philosopher Socrates advised young men to examine themselves in the mirror, and those who were handsome should concentrate on maintaining a pure conscience and avoiding temptations that would lead them astray. If a young man felt unattractive, he could make up for it with good deeds and gain a good reputation.

During Medieval times, glass mirrors completely disappeared because religious authoritarians believed that the Devil saw the world from the other side of the glass. The return of glass mirrors was during the 13th century, and they were somewhat curved outward. Using the technology at the time, professional glaziers poured hot tin into glass tubs, waited for it to cool, and then broke it into individual pieces.

Flat mirrors were developed by Venetian masters three centuries later. They discovered a way to fasten the tin to a flat piece of glass.

The first mirror production facility opened in Nuremberg, Germany 1373. Mirrors were also used in mystery rituals and witchcraft during the 16th century. Even The Bible was written in “mirror reflection”, making it difficult to decipher the message without a mirror.

Today, mirrors are made by taking a thin layer of molten aluminium or silver and then adding it to glass in a vacuum. This has made producing mirrors faster than ever.

What do mirrors symbolise?

Mirrors physically reflect light and our surroundings. Light indicates illumination, consciousness, knowledge, and other spiritual concepts. Mirrors thus reflect truth in terms of spiritual symbolism. They represent reality. However, psychology completely disagrees and turns this symbolism on its head. Psychology sees mirrors as representing the dividing line between the conscious and unconscious minds. One can supposedly peer into the depths of their unconsciousness by gazing into a mirror.

Mirrors are generally symbolic of spiritual and psychological depth. They don’t just reveal our appearance. They can reveal who we are on a deeper level.

Generally speaking, mirrors represent a person’s depth of soul and mind. They have the power to deeply disclose who we truly are.

Below is a list of key symbolic meanings behind mirrors, along with an explanation:


Holding a mirror in front of our faces can reveal our true physical appearance. However, the word “mirror” can also refer to a reflection of our true selves underneath the surface when used metaphorically.


Some believe that mirrors contain enormous amounts of wisdom and understanding. That is because a mirror spends the days silently watching from a wall or table. If mirrors could speak, they would surely have a lot to reveal.


When we advise someone to “take a look in the mirror”, we are suggesting that the person needs to consider what they’re doing/saying to become aware of their flaws. Here, the mirror is employed to assist a person in realising the need for self-evaluation and behaviour modification.

Vanity and narcissism

People who stare at the mirror for an excessive amount of time are often described as vain or obsessed with themselves. This indicates that they are more preoccupied with their outward appearance than their personality.


Although we frequently think mirrors reflect reality, they can also be deceptive. When mirrors are convex or concave, they can exaggerate our height or weight. They can also alter how far or close an object seems relative to its distance. As a result, when mirrors are bent to create a distorted image, their symbolism often represents deception rather than truth.

Also, our mirror reflections are reversed compared to what others see when they look at us. Your peers are familiar with your non-reversed image, while you are familiar with your reversed image in a mirror.

Bad luck (broken mirror)

Ever heard of the phrase “seven years of bad luck if you break a mirror”? This stems back to the beliefs of the ancient Greeks and Chinese. It probably derives from the notion that a mirror reflects your soul and that shattering a mirror thus traps your soul inside. But relax; if you happen to break a mirror in the future, all is not lost for seven years. Legend says the curse is lifted if you bury the mirror shards during a full moon – phew!

Mirrors in homes today

Today, mirrors are used in interior design for aesthetic and practical benefits. Arguably, they are one of the most versatile pieces of home décor. You can utilise a mirror to entirely change the look of almost any area in your home, from reflecting light for better brightness to creating the illusion of extra space, plus offering plenty of practical spots to stop and check your reflection – hallways, bathrooms, etc. To read more about how mirrors can transform your home, read our guide on wooden framed mirrors. If you’re interested in the ancient practice of feng shui and how it applies to mirrors, we have an article on that, too: Where to hang wooden mirrors for good feng shui.

Happy reading, and don’t forget to browse through our stunning range of handmade wooden framed mirrors.

The symbolism of mirrors - Steamed Studio (2024)


What is the symbolism of mirrors? ›

They have long been associated with reflecting the self and representing the concept of duality. Mirrors can represent the physical and spiritual self, and the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Mirrors can also represent the duality of good and evil, light and darkness, and life and death.

What do mirrors symbolize in speak? ›

Mirrors. Mirrors symbolize facing things head-on and looking at them honestly without any false appearances. Early in the story, Melinda takes down the mirror in her room because she is unable to face herself. The act represents her avoidance of dealing with what's going on inside of her.

What does the mirror symbolize in Alice in Wonderland? ›

The phrase Through the Looking Glass, “as used in literature by world renowned author Lewis Carroll, can be viewed as a metaphor for any time the world suddenly appears unfamiliar, almost as if things were turned upside down – similar to looking out from inside the mirror to find a world both recognizable and yet ...

What is the symbolism of mirrors as the first step of individuation and self-awareness? ›

Mirrors trigger self-awareness. Looking into our own unconscious enables us to become aware of the shadow and the persona, bring them to consciousness, and advance toward individuation.

What do mirrors symbolize in film? ›

They can function as a portal to other worlds, or as a door to admit otherwordly creatures into our reality. They can bewilder and bewitch, distract and disturb. They can be symbols of ageing and death, madness and corruption. They can expose the truth, or hide it behind a veil of deception.

What does the mirror symbolize in the story mirror image? ›

The silver-plated mirror with the initials ACS (Alice's initials) is a gift from Alice's father. Alice carries it with her as a way to confront her new appearance and remind herself of her true identity. The mirror becomes a symbol of her internal conflict and struggle to reconcile her new body with her sense of self.

What is a mirror a metaphor for? ›

The most common use of this metaphor is to refer to a text or history that functions as a mirror to reveal the truth to oneself for self-improvement. In this way, the mirror functions to provide self-knowledge with the goal of self-improvement.

What is the message of mirror? ›

Sylvia Plath's “Mirror” discusses the emotional effect of time and appearance among individuals by using personification, imagery, and irony to create an intense relationship between the mirror and the things it reflects. With age comes a loss of beauty, which many individuals often have a difficult time accepting.

What are the three symbols in Speak? ›

The writers find three important symbols in the story, they are Melinda's tree painting, mirror, and Melinda's lips and mouth condition. Anderson puts those symbols in the story in order to strengthen the salvation from the isolation as the solid theme for Speak.

What is the connection between mirror image and Alice in Wonderland? ›

The story also resembles the story Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Both stories have a similar theme. Both stories describe the protagonist (Alice) on their journey with themselves. Alice in Mirror Image must discover what it is that defines her, and similarly Alice In Wonderland must find her way "home."

What is the deeper meaning of Alice in Wonderland? ›

One of the most significant themes in Alice in Wonderland is the importance of embracing your true self. Alice struggles with the expectations and constraints placed on her by society. As she navigates the strange and unpredictable world of Wonderland, she learns to embrace her unique qualities and strengths.

Which does the symbol of a mirror often represent in art? ›

Mirrors in art carry a variety of different meanings and associations. The oracle of Apollo at Delphi demanded of the ancient Greeks, 'Know thyself', and mirrors have often been used as symbols of wisdom and self-knowledge.

What does the mirror symbolize? ›

Mirrors are generally symbolic of spiritual and psychological depth. They don't just reveal our appearance. They can reveal who we are on a deeper level. Generally speaking, mirrors represent a person's depth of soul and mind.

What is the importance of a mirror? ›

Mirrors allow us to see ourselves. They show us what we look like, they let us examine ourselves, and they can give us a glimpse of our ancestry and heritage. Sometimes a mirror will show you a part of you that you did not notice before, and there is beauty in that.

Why do mirrors represent yourself? ›

Because mirror images embody an externalized perspective on the self, the ability to recognize oneself in the mirror has been considered the mark of a self-concept, namely a well-integrated, flexible, and conscious representation of the self as a being in the world (Gallup, 1977).

What is the spiritual meaning of mirror? ›

Mirrors are generally symbolic of spiritual and psychological depth. They don't just reveal our appearance. They can reveal who we are on a deeper level. Generally speaking, mirrors represent a person's depth of soul and mind. They have the power to deeply disclose who we truly are.

What is mirror energy? ›

The presense of mirrored energy is the one that also brings similarity in features, color, mannerisms. It is this mirroring that brings obsessive thinking towards each other. Both Soul energies are same shared consciousness, same pillar of light, balance energy. This mirroring gives both of them telepathic link.

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