mirror-beauty-coc-arrivalMIRROR of BEAUTY

Classification: Magic item;
    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;
Pau-Styss' castle, which floated over the Eiglopohian mountains that separated Cimmeria from Vanaheim and Aesgaard);
    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.

Conan 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.

(Conan 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 along.

(Conan 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 staff.

(Conan 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.mirror-beauty-coc-exodus

(Conan the Barbarian#130 - BTS) - There they found and obtained the Rose of Peace.

(Conan 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.

(Conan 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 Kane.

Elder Gods and Cornerstones of Creation

Some insight courtesy of creator David Sexton:

     I 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 all that.

     When 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.

     So 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 throughout history...

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 information.

Profile by Snood.

The Mirror of Beauty may or may not be otherwise connected to:

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)

Conan the Barbarian#128 (November, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
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

Non-Marvel Copyright info
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