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CON TEN TS Pocket Notes—Stephen Minch 7 Report on a Performance—Juan Tamariz 13 Minguet and His Deceptions in Plain Sight— Enrique Jiménez-Martínez 19 Deceptions in Plain Sight—Pablo Minguet é Yrol  61 Contributors 227

Vol. 4, No. 2 • 5

Frontispiece from the 1733 edition (checklist entry 2)


•• ••• •• •• •• • R EPORT ON A PER FOR M AN CE •• ••• •• •• •• • JUAN TAMARIZ

he: “How was the show?” He: “Fascinating! What a magician! What an artist! The most enchanting smile; he always repeated, “It’s amazing!” with a Spanish accent at the end of each trick. What we saw seemed impossible. What a shame you couldn’t come with us.” She: “Were the tricks that good?” He: “Yes, of course. You won’t believe me: Less than two feet from us, he made a coin go through a table and fall into a glass underneath it; my ring—the one you see here—he slipped it onto a stick that Arturo and Juan Antón were holding by the ends! And they never let go of it! Then he put a euro in Pepe’s hands and a dollar in Ramon’s, closed them—and zip! The coins changed places with each other...” She: “Didn’t they open their hands?” He: “In the end, only in the end to show them. I myself cut a piece of string in half with a large pair of scissors—and I swear he didn’t switch it—but it became whole when he rubbed it in his hands, and then he gave it to me! Look at it! It is whole, whole! The entire piece—really! A miracle.” She: “...!!!” He: “I can’t tell you all the wonders he performed. He lost all four Aces into the deck and, without doing anything at all, he handed it to Luis, and Luis himself found them together in the pack. If only I had the power to move cards through the deck at will...” She: “Then you would always beat me at poker.” He: “No, I would spend all day giving orders to the cards: Go up, go down, come together, separate by colors...” She: “Well, so what else?” He: “What else! Does that seem so little to you?” She: “Not a little, a lot.... So he didn’t do anything more, then?” He: “What are you saying? A thousand more miracles. A blank book filled itself with letters, then figures, then colors; he cut up a handkerchief and it became whole;

Title page from the 1766 edition


•• ••• •• •• •• •



The Author

ablo Minguet é Yrol was a fascinating character who possessed multiple talents and an encyclopedic knowledge. Although information about him is scarce, and much of that vague, we do know he was a dance master, a musician, a choreographer and a composer. His achievements as an engraver and a publisher are also impressive. As an author, he produced several works on diverse topics, among which was Engaños a ojos vistas. His books on music and dance are still considered among the most important Spanish treatises of their time on these topics, and serve to the present day as sources for research and study. His illustrated treatise on the minuet, Arte de danzar a la francesa (The art of dance in the French style), appeared in 1737. Other manuals on dance flowed from his pen, and they all enjoyed enough success to require several printings. In 1752 Minguet published Spain’s first book on violin technique, Reglas y advertencias generales para tañer el violín de autor anónimo (General rules and advice for violin playing, by an anonymous author). He later published several books of his own composition, dealing with various musical instruments. Minguet was a man of broad intellect, with keen interests in religion, philosophy, geography, warfare, clocks, optics, chess, checkers and other matters. The diversity of his studies may be seen in his production, in 1763, of an illustrated study on the science and use of eyeglasses.

1733 title page (checklist entry 2)



•• • • • • •• • • • • WHICH CONTAINS ALL THE VARIATIONS of the Cups, and other very curious Skills, demonstrated with various plates so that anyone who is amused can do them easily


[translated from the Spanish by Lori Pieper]

WITH PRIVILEGE IN MADRID: At the Printing Press of Don Pedro Joseph Alonso y Padilla, Bookseller for the Chamber of Our Lord The King in the year 17331 Vol. 4, No. 2 • 63

Deceptions in Plain Sight



leight-of-Hand Tricks consist principally of tricks with the Cups and other tricks of skill, which I now want to explain to you. Before explaining any trick to you, it will be necessary to give you the way the Bag and the Caps should be made.

What is most necessary to perform the tricks is the Bag, because in it are placed all the things most necessary for the said tricks, and for performing them with great speed, skill, and dexterity. For the Bag to be

Vol. 4, No. 2 • 73

Pa b l o M i n g u e t é Y r o l well made, you will order it made of goatskin leather, and it should be in the form that was demonstrated in the previous figure; and you will make it so that it has compartments inside, to hold the instruments for each trick in a place by themselves, so that at the time that you need something for the said tricks, you will find it. You will make the said bag so that it is half a vara [about 16½ inches] in length, and another half a one in width; and if you do not want to make it of goatskin leather, as I have told you, you will make one of the material that seems more fitting to you, and suitable for the intention. You will also make two Caps, like the ones the Grenadiers or the Hungarians or the Hussars wear: and in short, you will make them as it seems best to you, except that they have to be of different colors. To explain to you the tricks with the Cups, it will be necessary to give you the most advantageous construction that can be had, and the way of making the little balls in order to perform them with more skill.

Gibecière • Summer 2009

Pa b l o M i n g u e t é Y r o l

When you want to put the little ball you have hidden [in your hand] under a Cup, you will make it come out from between your fingers, pushing it with the second finger to the third, as is indicated on the second hand, and you will join the third finger a little with the other so that it holds; you will then take the Cup by the bottom, as the third hand shows you, and you will raise it in the air, and as you lower it skillfully, you will place the ball inside. When you do the tricks, you will stand at one side of the room, or on a platform, up close to the wall, and with a covered table in front, and you will place a boy on each side, who will be your Partners, and you will have those present, or who are watching, place themselves in front, and so that they are not close to you, as is demonstrated in the Print at the beginning [the frontispiece, p. 2], then you will put on your hat, and you will make your bow, and you will begin the monologue, saying, “Welcome friends,” etc., and while you are speaking the monologue, you will tie the bag onto your belt, and when you say to your Partners: “Put on this cap, and you will be,” etc., you will put the caps on them; then you will pull out the Cups,

Gibecière • Summer 2009

Pa b l o M i n g u e t é Y r o l Well, I will make it so that at the sound of my singing, it will dance, if you bring me a glass.” And after you say this, while they are bringing you the glass, you will stick the hair to the coin with the bead of wax, and then you will throw it inside the glass. And you will begin to sing, and to the sound of your singing, you will give little blows on top of the table, holding the hair taut, in such a way that with the movement of your hand, and its concealment39 by the blows, the coin jumps inside the glass, falling and rising, but in a such a way that it does not come out of the glass. And so that you may understand it better, in the previous figure you will see it delineated as it has to be placed for its better execution. Note that you must do it a little apart from the light, so that they cannot make out the hair.



is placed inside a handkerchief and this on a table, pass through the table and fall inside a Glass

ou will take a quarto,40 and you will sew it in the corner of a handkerchief, and then you will put it in the bag. When you do this trick, you will bring out the handkerchief, taking it by the corner where the quarto is, and you will show it, saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, now you see that this handkerchief does not contain anything. Well then, watch.” And then you will put it spread out on top of the table, placing the corner where the quarto is hanging down toward you. Then you will ask for another quarto, and you will say: “Ladies and gentlemen, look well at this quarto as I place it in the middle of this

Gibecière • Summer 2009

Deceptions in Plain Sight



an egg is dancing in your hand

ou will take an egg, and make two little holes in it. And then you will remove everything that is inside and, taking a hair from the tail of a white horse, you will pass it inside the egg, and you will stick it with a bead of wax, or something else that is strong. And then you will put it in the bag. When you have to do this trick you will ask for an egg, and then skillfully, so that they do not see it, you will put it into the bag, and you will bring out the other, placing the loop of the hair on your little finger, or on the finger that you want. And you will make it dance on one side of your hand, then on the other, making the movements that you like, and then you will return it quickly to the bag, and bringing out the other, you will return it to its owner. Note that you must not keep the egg hanging, because it will be known that was tied, and you have to put the hair in the form that the previous figure shows. And if you cannot find a white hair, you can use a black one and when you make it dance you will say, “Ladies and gentlemen, look at his egg, how I am making it dance.�

Vol. 4, No. 2 • 103

Gibecière Vol. 4 No. 2