MIRROR of BEAUTY
Talismans of Mystic Power;
active in the Hyborian era (present since the distant past; see comments)
Creator: Primal Gods (aka "Elder Gods"; see comments);
IF the Mirror of Beauty is an incarnation of the Darkhold (see comments) , then it would have been created or re-created by Chthon;
User/Possessors: Conan of Cimmeria, Pau-Styss;
watched over by the Cult of Creation, notably its priestess, Noyo, and the Guardian of Beauty
if the Mirror of Beauty is an incarnation of the Black Mirror (which was a page from the Darkhold), then it has also been used by numerous others; see the Darkhold for that listing
Group Membership (More of a collection): Cornerstones of Creation (Crown of Wisdom, Rose of Peace, Sword of Strength)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly Pau-Styss' castle,
which floated over the
Eiglopohian mountains that separated Cimmeria from Vanaheim and
formerly accessed in a Khitain alley
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#128 (November, 1981)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The exact nature
of the Mirror's power is unrevealed, but it allows access to another
unidentified location (possibly extradimensional) that contained the
Rose of Peace.
The Mirror presumably grants some
power on its own, perhaps access to other locations/realms and/or some
unspecified energy powers.
If one stared directly into the
Mirror's depths, one might be lost forever in the realms of
enchantment, where beauty herself dwelled.
It is one of four items of magic
power that collectively form the Cornerstones of Creation, which grant vast magical power to those pure of heart.
the Barbarian I#128 (fb) - BTS) - In the distant past, the Primal Gods (also sometimes referred to as "Elder Gods"; see comments)
created four items, imbuing each of them with one of the four elements
of the cosmos' creation: The Sword of Strength, the Crown of Wisdom,
the Mirror of Beauty, and the Rose of Peace.
Throughout the ages, the sacred Cornerstones of Creation were jealously
guarded by the Cult of Creation. Knowledge of their Earthly hiding
places was known only to the hand-picked priestess of the gods.
Noyo was chosen as the Priestess of the Cult of Creation.
the Barbarian#128 - BTS) - The demon lord sorcerer Pau-Styss
sought the power of the Cornerstones of Creation and kidnapped Laynnen
to force his wife, Noyo, to recover the
Cornerstones. She was joined on her quest by Laynnen's
childhood friend, Conan; her and Laynnen's son, Dreeme, also came
the Barbarian#130 - BTS) - Having already obtained the Sword of
Strength and the Crown of Wisdom, Noyo, Conan, and
Dreeme mystically traveled to Khitai. There Noyo magically guided and
empowered Conan to use the Sword of Strength (which transformed into a
staff) to defeat the Guardian of Beauty, whose soul then entered the
the Barbarian#130) - As
the Mirror of Beauty then shimmered into existence, Noyo warned Conan
against staring directly into its depths before instructing him to
strike the mirror with the soul-filled staff.
Once Conan struck the mirror, reality seemed to
shudder and sigh, and infinity seemed to warp and moan. Conan, Noyo,
and Dreeme were sucked into the glimmering glass and emerged in an
unidentified location, which even Noyo did not know.
the Barbarian#130 - BTS) - There they found and obtained the Rose of Peace.
the Barbarian#130) - With the Cornerstones hidden in an unspecified location but accessible to her, Noyo led Conan and Dreeme to confront
Pau-Styss. However, the sorceror defeated Conan and then forced Noyo to bring
forth the Cornerstones, which Styss transformed into their
sidereal states and spoke the chants
to claim their power. Ultimately, however, the power consumed him,
leaving him a skeleton before that crumbled to dust.
the Barbarian#130 - BTS) - Noyo then revealed that she had recalled/appreciated
Laynnen's true nature as the child of the Elder Gods, and Laynnen
revealed how, upon learning Noyo's nature, he had understood that only
the "chosen one," the one pure in heart, could tap into the
Cornerstone's power without harm; he indicated that Dreeme could be
that chosen one, though he, Dreeme, and Noyo would have to work on
drawing out even the limited stain of violent thoughts on Dreeme's soul.
Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis and Gil
Elder Gods and Cornerstones of Creation
Some insight courtesy of creator David Sexton:
- In the past, we have always considered the Elder Gods of
the Hyborian Age (never specifically named and sometimes referred
to as the Primal Gods and the Creation-Lords) to be distinct from the
true Elder Gods (Chthon, Gaea, Oshtur,
and Set; with others having long since perished) and to possibly be the major gods mentioned elsewhere in the Conan series: Crom,
Mitra, Asura, and possibly Set..."
- However, the Mystic Arcana series included the
Cornerstones of Creation and showed them to be associated with the
true Elder Gods. Between the two stories, the Sword of Strength from Conan I#128-130 would correspond to the Sword of Bone (associated with
Oshtur), used by Agamotto's Pale Horseman, with most recent incarnation being Cadaver; the Rose of Peace would correspond to the Ebon
Rose (associated with Gaea); the Crown
of Wisdom would correspond to the Serpent
Crown (associated with Set); and the Mirror of Beauty would correspond to the Black Mirror, which was a form or portion of the Darkhold
(associated with (and a reflection of) Chthon). It is NOT outright stated, however, that the
Cornerstones of Creation in Mystic Arcana were the same as those in the
- Is the Mirror of Beauty an incarnation the Black Mirror?
- The Mirror of Beauty supposedly judged purity and could only be
used by one who was pure.
- The Black Mirror, however, was a reflection
of the Darkhold, a creation of Chthon, one of the most malevolent
beings associated with Earth.
- Obviously, it could have been that the
Mirror of Beauty was a trap to corrupt others, but the fact the
Pau-Styss was destroyed upon accessing the Cornerstones' power makes it
seem less likely that it was some seductive trick.
- Connections/contradictions between the Sword of Bone and the Sword of Strength are discussed in their respective profiles.
- Connections/contradictions between the Crown of Wisdom and the Serpent
Crown are discussed in their respective profiles.
- The Rose of Peace and the Ebon Rose
have no striking differences, so that's an easy re-creation; but,
again, they're not exactly the same.
- Interestingly, the one image in Conan the Barbarian
I#130 that shows the Elder Gods as appearing to be at least three completely human-looking males. Is
this just an image from Noyo's understanding of her masters? Did she
lack understanding of their true forms/natures and just assume them to
be human males who mystically combined their energies to generate a
living being? Were these beings actually avatars of the Elder Gods,
rather than the Elder Gods themselves? Or are there two different sets
of Cornerstones of Creation?
- I know the author of Mystic Arcana, David
Sexton, intended the Cornerstones in his stories to be the same ones
from the Conan stories, but he did tell me that he wasn't sure that would actually work out...
- This issue will likely remain
perhaps moot, depending on how the new Conan series fits in. It's
supposed to be a continuation of the older series, although they don't
necessarily plan to revisit much outside of classic Robert E. Howard
story themes. We shall see...
discovered the original Cornerstones of Creation on your Appendix website as I was
investigating magic in Marvel and the idea of the number 4 as a
repeated theme in Marvel. And, of course, the way that Tarot fits into
I saw the C of C on your site I connected it to Tarot and then the 4
Elder Gods. I knew that Gaea was Earth and Rose fit with her, that the
crown was the Serpent Crown, and that the Sword which signifies
intellect and the mind was Oshtur.
then I was like how would a mirror work with Cthon and I realized that
the Darkhold was the mirror of Chthon. A reflection of his twisted
vision for the world.
In Marvel Tarot, it appears as the Ace of Wands (see image on right--Snood; the Ace of Swords is the Sword of Bone, the Ace of Cups is the Serpent Crown, and the Ace of Pentacles is the Ebon Rose)
In the image of Ian McNee using the Cornerstones of Creation, the Black
Mirror is just a magical construct to symbolize the Mirror.
In my mind, the Darkhold itself is the Cornerstone. Possessing the Last
Chronicle of Chthon / Darkhold page allowed Ian to access the
Darkhold's power (as far as the Cornerstones of Creation is concerned).
The Serpent Crown. The Ebon Rose. The Sword of Bone. and the Darkhold. Those are the four Cornerstones
The Cornerstones of Creation received a mini-profile in the Talismans of Mystic Power of the Mystic Arcana handbook. It stated:
The Cornerstones of Creation refers to
a set of four unique artifacts of the ancient world. The Sword, the
Rose, the Crown, and the Mirror are related to air, earth, water, and
fire, respectively, and some ancient texts have connected them with
four entities known as "Elder Gods." Individually possessed of vast
power, some have theorized that if the four Cornerstones were gathered
together and used correctly, the very fabric of reality could be
altered. This is why the true names of the items have been obscurred
After re-re-re-re-reviewing all the stories and speaking to the
creator, it seems clear that the Handbook entry offers the best
solution...the Cornerstones' reality-altering power changed their
nature...or their natures were altered.
Khitai is the Hyborian equivalent of China. Read
the Blockbusters handbook's entry on the Great Cataclysm for more
Profile by Snood.
The Mirror of Beauty may or may not be otherwise connected to:
- BLACK MIRROR
- a page from the Darkhold and a reflection of Chthon that was part of
the Cornerstones of Creation gathered in the modern era by Ian
McNee--Mystic Arcana#1: Sister Grimm
but should be distinguished from:
- MIRROR of ALL SIGHT
- Weirdworld; a pair were possessed by Grithstane and Lord Raven;
allowed them to conjure up images of Weirdworld as well as to transport
beings to and from other locations--Marvel Premiere#38
- MIRROR of ETERNITY - Attilan's Corridor of Memories; Shatterstar (Arides) was tricked into firing
into this and was disintegrated as a result--Inhumans I#5
MIRROR of FINVARRA – used by Dark Elves to see
into the mortal realm, shattered by the forging of Asgardian steel by Thor--Thor 1#377
- MIRROR of MYCHA - Asgardian magic item; Loki duped Sif into stealing it in
hopes of making Thor love her, but Amora usurped it and used it on Thor himself;
Brunnhilde shattered it, breaking the spell. Caused whoever looked into it to fall in love with the first
person he or she saw--Thor: Son of Asgard#8
- MIRROR of PTAH MESU - used by Thulandra Thuu, able to carry messages across a distance--Conan the Liberator, Savage Sword of Conan#49
- MIRRORs of TUZUN THUNE - see Tuzun Thune--Weird Tales; Conan the Barbarian I#25
- MIRROR of VACHARN of the Hyborian
era - stared into by Vacharn when glowed brightly the noon before a full moon--"Necromancy in Na'at" by Clark Ashton
Smith (1935); (adapted to Marvel Comics) Conan the Savage#10 (May, 1996)
- MIRROR MODELING (Paolo) - Wisconsin, employs Ashley Crawford (Big Bertha)--GLA#2
(Aron Nora) - Shadowforce, died trying to mimic Madrox. Duplicate
others' appearance, powers, and behavior--Spider-Man + X-Factor:
- Martha's Mirror
- conventional mirror used by Martha to reflect the energies of the
"Strange Stone" back onto itself--Journey into Mystery I#43/4
images: (without ads):
Conan the Barbarian#130, pg. 11, panel 3 (shimmering into existence);
panel 6 (pulled into mirror);
pg. 12, panel 1 (exiting mirror)
Barbarian#128 (November, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil
Kane (artist), Louise
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil
Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise
Conan the Barbarian#130 (January, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
First posted: 09/18/2019
Last updated: 04/10/2020
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