If Looks Could Kill: A New Analysis Of Incan Burial Reveals Toxic Mineral

A new analysis of an Incan mummy burial from the 1400s, found in Northern Chile in the 1970s, revealed the presence of cinnabar. Which is bad news for the Inca. Cinnabar is a highly toxic, fine-grained red pigment that can be derived from mercury ore. Fabric in the grave was colored with bright-red pigment, which the Inca usually produced using the mineral hematite. Occasionally, if the wearer was particularly high-status, cinnabar could also be used as a red dye too. But although cinnabar's signature color had been previously associated with Inca culture elsewhere, it had never been seen in a cultural context in the region where the mummies were found.

This particular grave contains the remains of an eighteen-year-old girl and a younger girl of about nine. Richly dressed, two were buried with over 100 artifacts. They were likely a human sacrifice. And an important one, given the quality of the goods they were buried with, the fineness of their clothing, and the use of cinnabar.

Where Do "Wardrobes" Come From?

The Old French word "warderobe" or "garderobe" meant a room where the clothing (robes) of the rich or powerful were locked for safety. Also stored in the "warderobe" were things a modern reader might expect to have locked up, like silverware or artwork. Over time, the wardrobe became a piece of furniture instead of a separate room. But the name stuck around.

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.

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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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