Did You Know Jews Thrived In Ming China?

During the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) a population of Jews immigrated into the heart of China and lived as just another obscure, minor religion. There is poor documentation, but there what records exist show Jews worked as army officers, mandarin bureaucrats, tax inspectors, and school inspectors.

That is rare considering during this same period Jews were often persecuted as an unwanted group elsewhere: to name a few examples, Jews were expelled from France twice (1306 and 1394), forced to convert to Catholicism or leave Spain (1492), and heavily taxed and punished for inciting unrest in Egypt (1324).

This charmed me. A little bear, poised expectantly, or perhaps posing for the viewer. “Little” is also the right word: it is just under a foot tall (or 29.5 cm).

Bronze, Italian or possibly German, circa 1600. Courtesy of the Getty Museum.


"To me there has never been a higher source of earthly honor or distinction than that connected with advances in science."

Isaac Newton

Ritual axe decorated with skulls and crown motifs. The handle and axehead are glass, and the rest is gilded bronze. The axe was likely to cut through delusions or sever psychological attachments to the worldly life, allowing one to spiritually evolve.

From the town of Derge in the Kham region (today's Tibet). 1500s - 1600s CE.

The First American Bible Was Algonquin

The first Bible to be printed in North America was a Massachusett translation in 1663. Massachusett is an Algonquin language, spoken by the Wampanoag, as well as a state. The title was "Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up Biblum God" which translates to "The Whole Holy His-Bible God." You can tell the translator just transliterated "bible" and "God."

Need To Remember All The British Royal Houses?

Here's a fun mnemonic: "No Point Letting Your Trousers Slip Halfway!" Which stands for the main British royal families: Normans, Plantagenets, Lancasters, Yorks, Tudors, Stuarts, Hanovers, and Windsors. And in chronological order, too!

Pilgrims Were Great At Naming

William Brewster, senior clergyman and senior citizen of the Plymouth Colony, named his children Jonathan, Patience, Fear, Love, and Wrestling.

Weird But Wonderful

This weird, kind of amazing glass fish thingy just has to be shared. According to the Walters Art Museum, it dates to the Baroque period in Italy. At the base, "dolphins with entwined tails support the fish, while the wavy patterns on the base represent flowing water." The Milanese family of Sarachi was particularly famous for vessels in the shape of fishes. So they think the Sarachis made this one, probably around 1590 to 1600.

How Did Elizabeth I of England Use Art As Propoganda?

This video looks not at her more-famous life-size paintings, but her miniatures. How did she convey big political ideas with small portraits? Because no matter how she was being portrayed, Elizabeth I was always a political actor, and conveyed herself as such.

How Did Church Bell Ringing Become An Art?

Bells have been used in Europe since the early middle ages to call people to church services, mark the hours of the day, and sometimes convey signals or warnings. However "musical" bell ringing did not really begin until the 1500s or 1600s.

The first carillon, the array of bells housed in the tower of a church, was created in Flanders, Belgium, in the 1500s. It was slowly refined over decades until it became a huge musical instrument that just happened to be housed in a giant tower. Each bell could be run precisely as the ringer wished, using a system of levers and pedals. The new musical instrument proved popular, and carillons and their beautiful sound slowly spread across Europe.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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