Golden Ear Plugs from Kenya, circa 1800s

These ear plugs are an example of traditional jewelery worn by some Swahili people along the east coasts of Kenya and Tanzania. You might recognize them as "gauges” -- not something you use to sleep better at night.

The Weight of Privilege

Maya rituals may have literally been weighty affairs for high-ranking rulers. During these festivities, elite officials adorned themselves with an assortment of jade pendants, mostly worn on the ears or around the neck. Heavier ones (such as a 5-pound carved head from Ucanal in Guatemala) were likely attached to a belt and would have made customary ritual dancing quite cumbersome.

It is theorized that the weight of the assembled stones, which may have totaled as much as 25 pounds, symbolized a leader’s prestige and responsibilities.

An Artist's Interpretation of Constantinople Around 1200

What it says on the tin: a birds-eye view of Constantinople with its famous walls and horse racing track. This is pretty specifically in the years 1200 to 1204. In 1204, the fourth crusade sacked the city, burning much of what you see and effectively marking the end of the Byzantine Empire as a regional power. The art is by Antoine Helbert, a French artist.

Let's Talk About Angkor Ceramics!

The Khmer Empire, also known as the Angkor Empire, was a powerful Hindu-Buddhist empire in Southeast Asia. It held more or less power in the region from the early 800s to the mid-1400s when its capital city of Angkor fell. The first evidence by an academic of stoneware ceramic production was the documentation in 1888 by the French explorer Etienne Aymonier of an abandoned kiln site on Phnom Kulen. Not much investigation into Angkor ceramics was made until the 1960s, however, when deforestation and road-building uncovered kiln mounds for ceramics in the fields of Buriram province in northern Thailand. Once the discovery became known, a new interest in the ceramics of Angkor was born. Since then, many more kilns have been found across the former empire.

Angkor ceramics were made either with grayish-white clay bearing green glaze or with dark-colored clay using brown glaze. Occasionally, when a potter was apparently feeling adventurous, a ceramic would be made with both grayish-white and dark clay, and glazed with both green and brown glaze. And of course there were many unglazed ceramics. Angkor ceramics, though just two colors of clay, had a variety of shapes. Click through the image gallery to see some examples.

Wartime Propaganda Tried To Guilt You About Swimming!

Australian recruitment poster during World War I. It was aimed at the Australian value of “mateship” or comradeship. Australian efforts to recruit volunteers, that would serve with the British forces, were quite successful. Over 400,000 men volunteered, out of a population of just 5 million.

Annoyed Roman Lady Didn't Enjoy Sitting Still For Her Bust

This bust was found in Rome, and dates to between 98 and 117 CE.

The World's Derpiest Incense Burner

I mean, just look at its face! This is a porcelain Japanese incense burner in the form of a dog. Circa 1750 to 1800

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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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