Officer of the Imperial Palace Guard’s Armor

That much embroidery probably hinders their freedom of movement...but it sure looks snazzy! From the Qing Dynasty, circa 1700s

"Battle Scene" with Elephants!

Unfortunately, the title says just about everything the Walters Museum has on this painting. It is from Thailand, specifically the Rattanakosin Kingdom, sometime in the early 1900s but probably before 1932 when the kingdom ended in revolution. If anyone knows more about this painting, or the battle it depicts, let me know! I am very curious

It is estimated that over the past 200 years, the use of toilets -- and the cleaner environments and water supply that indoor plumbing entails -- have add about twenty years to the average human life.

Ayurveda's Three Classics

Ayurveda, a ancient medical tradition from India, has three great ancient authors. Each is known for one significant text. Today they are understood to be compilation texts, summaries of schools of medicine at the time of their writing, but the authors are believed to have been real people who wrote each individual book. Like an encyclopedia.

Sushruta, writing sometime in the 600s BCE (probably) wrote the "Sushruta Samhita," a treatise on medicine and surgery with a large section dedicated to medical instruments as well. Charaka, alive sometime in the 200s BCE, wrote a treatise focusing solely on medicine, the "Charaka Samhita." The third great author, Vagbhata, came much later in the 600s CE. His two major ayurvedic treatises similarly covered a broad swathe of medicine, but they also explicitly referenced the Sushruta Samhita and the Charaka Samhita, covering where they disagreed and the various solutions that had arose to those disagreements over the centuries.

The King Who United Korea

Statue of Wang Geon, a medieval Korean king from 918 to 943 CE. He is notable establishing the Goryeo Dynasty, then achieving the reunification of the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 CE. The modern English word, "Korea," comes from the name of the dynasty he founded, Goryeo.

The sculpture, made of bronze, is life-size and completely nude. Its 2-inch penis is intended to symbolize the king's mastery of the virtue of chastity. The symbolism does not translate well today.

The statue was made in 951 CE. Then it was deliberately buried in 1428 CE, when Wang Geon's dynasty was overthrown. The statue was rediscovered in North Korea in 1993.

Studying "Study of an Archer"

This unifinished study, from India around 1750, helps modern art historians understand how paintings were created at that time. Artists began by covering the paper with a thin layer of white paint, which created an even surface suitable for detailed work. They then made a preliminary drawing using ink and a fine brush; this is clearly visible where the quiver was meant to be executed. Pigments were then added, in this case, opaque watercolors. And at various stages, the painting was turned face down on a smooth surface, and rubbed with a hard tool to achieve a glossy finish.

There are oly four entities that have put humans into space. They are the government of Russia, the government of the United States, the government of China, and the private spaceflight company Scaled Composites.

Morocco Used To Be European?

Morocco -- and indeed, all of northern Africa -- used to be considered part of the European cultural world. The region, then called Mauretania, was colonized by Phoenicians, then Phoenicia's descendent Carthage. After the Punic Wars there were a number of independent kingdoms in the region. They were weak, and the later ones were client-kings for Rome. Mauretania was eventually officially annexed by the Roman Empire in 46 CE and made a province. The region was conquered by the Vandals in the 400s CE, along with Spain. The whole time, Mauretania and its Berber tribes were considered the very edge of European culture, but European nonetheless.

It was the Arabic Empire that changed the cultural makeup of Morocco. The region was conquered by Muslim Arabs around 685 CE and incorporated into the new Umayyad Caliphate, ruled from Damascus. Its native Berber tribes slowly converted to Islam. Ever since, the country has been considered part of the wider Middle East sphere.

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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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