Ohaguro: An Interesting Japanese Beauty Standard

Women in ancient Japan blackened their teeth with dye. White teeth were considered ugly. Evidence for this practice, called ohaguro, exists from as far back as the Kofun Period and (250 to 538 CE) in bone remains and on clay human figurines.

Ohaguro continued until the late 1800s and the Meiji Restoration.

Women Scribes: The Technologists of the Middle Ages

Today, most popular representations of manuscript production and scriptoria depict exclusively male spaces. The image that “scriptorium” conjures up is that of robed men laboring over texts. Yet, women had a very real place in developing, maintaining, and innovating this arduously crafted technology, using it to share visions, communicate with each other, and create works of staggering beauty and insight. Read the full article on medieval women's importance as scribes and writers  

Expert Claims To Have Uncovered Leonardo Da Vinci’s First Work

  "The Archangel Gabriel," a painted glazed tile, was signed and dated by an artist believed to be the 18-year-old Da Vinci. If this new find is authenticated, it would be Da Vinci's first painted work.

A Samurai's Retirement Plan Found In Japan

  One of the biggest hoards of medieval coins in Japan has recently been found, in Saitama, just north of Tokyo. A ceramic jar filled with thousands of bronze coins was found at the site of a samurai's home. The jar appears to have been buried during the first half of 1400s.     It appears to contain at least 100,000 coins and maybe up to 260,000 -- depending on the interpretation of the wooden tablet which was found on the edge of the jar's lid. “Nihyaku rokuju” (260) had been written with an ink brush. The writer left off the what they were counting, though. 260 coins is laughably low, considering how many coins are in the jar. The archaeologist who announced the find thought the tablet likely left off "kan," or 1,000 coins; that means the jar was supposed to have held 260,000 coins. Quite a big nest egg!

Leonardo Da Vinci May Have Drawn The First Landscape In European Art

On August 5th, 1473, in his notebook with pen and ink, Leonardo da Vinci tried to depict a panorama of the rocky hills and lush, green valley surrounding the Arno River near Vinci. The aerial view was nothing he could have seen naturally. It was rather a fantasy of what birds might see, flying overhead -- but with some imaginative additions courtesy of Leonardo.     Other artists had drawn and painted landscapes as backdrops, but with the Arno River drawing, Leonardo was doing something different. He was drawing a landscape by itself, for its own beauty. This makes it a contender to be the first landscape in European art.

The chrysanthemum was brought to Japan around the beginning of the Heian period (794−1185). By the Edo period (1600 - 1868) hundreds of types of chrysanthemums were being cultivated. These pages come from Gakiku, the first picture book of chrysanthemums published in Japan, in 1691. Its beautiful illustrations and Chinese-style poems introduced readers to 100 different varieties of the flower.

Worlds Largest Child Sacrifice Found In Peru

The Chimú Empire site of Las Llamas, a windswept bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, witnessed a horrific mass sacrifice 550 years ago. The skeletons of 140 children between the ages of 5 and 14 have been found so far. Footprints reveal how the children were dragged to the site before being ritually slaughtered with knife blows to the sternum. Based on the marks on their skeletons, the children likely had their hearts cut out. About 200 young llamas were also sacrificed at the site, hence the name.

Las Llamas is the only known example of mass child sacrifice in the Americas -- and perhaps in the entire world. Archaeological evidence of severe weather patterns, and flooding, suggest the Chimú were driven to such a drastic sacrifice by the threat of natural disaster and its natural result, starvation.

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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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