The peoples of ancient Mexico used polished obsidian mirrors, or tezcatl, as instruments of black magic. By gazing into a mirror's smoky depths, sorcerers traveled to the world of gods and ancestors. They reflect the viewer as well as the object. The obsidian mirror was the primary accessory of the supreme Aztec deity Tezcatlipoca, whose name means "smoking mirror." He is often depicted with an obsidian mirror on his chest, in his headdress, or replacing his right foot. Tezcatlipoca was the lord of the night and its creatures—above all, the jaguar, a powerful animal believed capable of crossing between the earthly realm and the underworld.
Obsidian Mirrors / Getty Research Institute