Easy Cups and Balls Tutorial

By Tom Interval

The Conjurer, Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1500)

The Conjurer, Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1500)

One of the oldest, if not the oldest, magic effects is the cups and balls.

While some magicians still believe it dates back to around 2500 BCE—based on a simple painting on the wall of a burial chamber in Beni Hasan, Egypt—most historians today believe the image depicts two people playing some sort of an ancient game with four bowls.

In his Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, written more than 2,000 years ago, Seneca the Younger described in Letter 45 a magic trick that somewhat resembles that of the classic cups and balls: acetabula et calculil (Latin for “dishes and dice”).

Seneca’s letter may very well reflect the origin of the cups and balls, but a more modern version was unambiguously depicted in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, The Conjurer, circa 1500. Bosch’s depiction is probably much closer to the beginning version I teach in my recent 40-minute video tutorial for people who support me on Rokfin and Patreon.

Please watch the following 10-minute preview, like it, share it, and support me on one of the platforms I mentioned. Thanks, and enjoy!


magic tutorials, magic lessons, magic classes, cups and balls, magic tricks

About Interval Magic

Magician Tom Interval, owner of San Diego-based Interval Magic, provides magic entertainment and training to private and corporate clients locally and throughout the United States. A member of the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), and Society of American Magicians (SAM), Interval has captivated tens of thousands of people at numerous venues, including Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he performed as a medieval conjurer, trained employees of the magic shop, and promoted the park on several local TV talk shows along the East Coast. As an entertainer, business owner, and former marketing communications professional, Interval understands that the success of any event depends on how satisfied his clients' guests are. Whether it’s a trade show or 50th wedding anniversary, Interval is dedicated to providing his audiences with a highly visual, interactive, mind-boggling magic experience they’ll remember and talk about for years to come. To learn more, please visit www.intervalmagic.com.
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