Samurai Children Were At-Risk For Lead Poisoning

A modern scientific study which analyzed 70 remains from a samurai cemetary showed that many samurai children had higher amounts of lead than the women, who in turn had higher amounts than the men. Sadly the young were the worst affected: those under 3 had the highest levels among children. The lead levels were high enough to be causing intellectual and developmental difficulties. In the worst cases, the lead levels were 150 times that which causes problems in modern children.

The study traced the lead poisoning to the lead-based white makeup popular among the children's mothers during the Edo Period. Since such makeup was only worn by kabuki actors, geisha, and samurai women, it is likely poorer children were spared.

Samurai and Horse in Full Armor

This particular type of samurai armor is known as Tatehagidō Armor. The horse's armor does not have a special name and is completed with a horned dragon mask. Sadly this was not to terrify the opponent's horse, because horse armor was a symbol of the owner's status, and was only used by high-ranking samurai in important processions. Early Edo Period,

The longest-reigning emperor of China, the Kangxi Emperor (1661 – 1722), was also the last to maintain traditional Manchurian army regulations. These decreed that a commander who returned from a battle alone (with all his men dead) would be put to death. The same for an ordinary foot soldier. The rule was intended to motivate bravery. Trying to save oneself would just end in an execution, so soldiers knew their whole unit needed to defeat the enemy to win.

A Mughal Hunting Coat

Because in order to chase down and bloodily kill animals, one must have embroidery! It is an embroidered satin with silk in fine chain stitch in five colors to create images of flowers, trees, peacocks, lions and deer. Circa 1620 - 1630.

Japan had an Edo-period card game involving collecting monster cards to beat opponents. Sound familiar? Success required knowledge of Japanese mythology and folklore because players could only gain a monster card if they correctly matched a monster to clues read by a referee. The player who accumulated the most cards by the end of the game wins. It was local to Tokyo, and was named Obake Karuta.

Persian Envoy Naqd Ali Beg, by an English Painter

This is a full-length full-size portrait of the Persian (Safavid) envoy from 1626, painted by Englishman Richard Greenbury. To add another twist, the portrait was commissioned by the English institution the East India Company. Today the portrait belongs to the British Library.

Milan Cathedral Took 700 Years to Build

Construction began in 1386. And finally stopped in 1965. That means this cathedral was getting built through the Renaissance, through the Enlightenment, and through the unification of Italy! Milan Cathedral is the largest church in Italy, which partially explains it (St Peters Basilica is larger but it isn't in Italy).

This bust was once considered the height of imperial power and prestige! How times change. Holy roman emperor Leopold I, as shown by the sculptor Paul Strudel in 1695.

The Connecticut Witch Trials

Did you know that Connecticut had witch trials thirty years before the more-famous Salem Witch Trials? From 1647 to 1663, Hartford Connecticut accused 37 people of being witches. Leading to 11 executions. An influenza epidemic in New England in 1647 likely helped get things started.

Things began to slow down in the early 1660s. Ironically, this is partly attributed to the return of the governor of the Connecticut colony, John Winthrop Jr., who was seen as an expert in witchcraft! He had seen major alchemists in England stand against false accusations of witchcraft, and was well-versed in "natural magical practices" as well as alchemy. Winthrop therefore was skeptical of the accusations being made in Connecticut. He wanted to catch true witches not just squabbling neighbors. For instance, Winthrop's court established that multiple witnesses needed to bear witness to the same act of witchcraft simultaneously. This understandably results in fewer witchcraft accusations and no witches were executed in Connecticut after 1670.

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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