In the late 1700s one of the many sources of death, at the time, was a nasty little thing with the incongruously pleasant name of “cinnabar.” We’ll show you how fashion trends combined with chemistry to kill people off.
No one puts on make-up for their health. In the 2000s, fashion regimes involve injecting poison into the face. In the early 1900s, make-up would sometimes blind women and occasionally cover them with radium.
In the 1800s, arsenic-based make-up and tonics would shrink down women’s capillaries and, at times, poison them.
It was in the 1700s that people really went to town. The standards of the day were different. Women liked dark lashes and eyebrows, so they’d darken their facial hair with soot.
Other than that, they wore very little eye make-up. They also didn’t go overboard with the lips. It was the skin that they concentrated on. If you’ve ever seen horror movies involving creepy porcelain dolls with chalk-white skin and dark red splotches on their cheeks, you’ve seen the last remnant of the fashion of the 1700s.
Women painted their faces pure white with Venetian ceruse, which was made by mixing lead with vinegar. Because make-up was expensive, and washing wasn’t considered healthy, they wore this lead until it wore off, sometimes for weeks. (Some ladies at this time also came up with the pre-cursor to botox, an enamel-like coating that stiffened parts of their faces and didn’t allow their skin to wrinkle.)
Then came the pièce de résistance. Red cheeks were considered natural and youthful. A little red was good. More red was better. French court women slathered themselves in it, starting at the corners of their eyes and spreading it to the corners of their mouths. In 1781, French women used two million pots a year.
This rouge had to work well with the white paint, and it had to stick around for a while, so it couldn’t be berry juice. Cosmetics makers put their heads together and came up with a little thing known as cinnabar – a pigment that was sometimes used to decorate paintings or pottery.
We now know it as mercury sulfide. It’s shown to cause neurological disorders, emotional problems, and peeling skin (so once you start using make-up, you need more make-up). Pregnant mice exposed to mercury sulfide gave birth to offspring with incurable neurological disorders.
One celebrated beauty, Maria Gunning, died at twenty-seven due to her make-up. Exactly how many other women (or men, who also painted themselves) died due to mercury or lead poisoning, and how many families were affected, we can’t tell.
Because these products were most used by the rich and powerful, it’s possible that history could be different if people at that time had decided they liked darker skin and eye-shadow.
When you stroll among the desert city’s skyscrapers or drive along its ever-changing roads, there is little street art to be seen, aside from the occasional hastily scrawled musing.
But, if you meander down the alleyways of the beachside suburb of Jumeirah, visit the warehouses in the industrial al-Quoz area, Dubai Festival City’s car parks, or the streets of the bustling Karama neighbourhood, you’re likely to come across a scattering of dynamic walls of work.
There are Matisse-esque two-headed green women, playful bows with antlers, and expanses of elegant Arabic calligraphy painstakingly painted over splashes of colour.
More surprising than the pieces themselves is that female artists created many of them.
Less surprising is that the street art is not a free-for-all but must be confined to approved public spaces.
Tarsila Schubert: ‘Street art on a non-approved wall is removed after a few days.’ Photograph: Tariq Zaidi
“It’s really difficult to get a permanent wall in Dubai and any street art on a non-approved wall is removed after a few days,” says Tarsila Schubert, a 27-year-old Brazilian street artist.
“There are a few walls with permanent works on them, though.”
Dubai-born street artist Fathima, 31 – who has also painted in the UK and Canada – agrees, but adds that she finds the emirate’s scene “weird”.
Read and See more via Female street artists take to Dubai’s walls | World news | The Guardian.
The Nebra Sky Disk photographed in Basel, Switzerland, in 2006 – Dbachmann via Wikipedia
Henry Westphal is tired. It’s July 4, 1999, a Sunday. He and a friend are climbing the Mittelberg or “Central Hill,” a small mountain near Nebra, in central Germany.
Both men know of ancient ruins located here. Equipped with two metal detectors, they hope to find something of value.
Westphal stops to rest for a couple of minutes. It’s a hot day and he’s out of shape.
Suddenly his metal detector starts beeping wildly. He brushes some leaves aside with his shoe but can’t make out anything. The detector’s display reads, “OVERLOAD.”
With a pick, Westphal scrapes at the dry ground. Under a few inches of soil, the pick hits something hard several times.
Together the two treasure-hunters dig a small pit. They find several objects: two decorative swords, two ax heads, a chisel, and two bracelets. The objects are piled beside a large, round disk oriented upright in the ground.
Through the dirt sticking to the disk, a faint golden shimmer is visible.
The men take the objects, cover up the hole, and drive home. That night they go to a bar to celebrate the unusual and obviously valuable find. What neither of them knows is that the dirty disk would turn out to be a one-of-a-kind, 3,600-year-old artifact, later declared to be one of the most important finds of the 20th century.
After soaking the disk in a bathtub filled with water and dish soap for several days, Westphal sells it together with the other objects to an art dealer for 31,000 Deutsche marks (about 19,000 U.S. dollars at the time).
The dealer knows the items are worth more and tries to sell them to several museums. The museums decline, realizing that trading in this ancient find is illegal. The disk ends up on the black market.
In May 2001, Harald Meller, the new state archaeologist in Saxony-Anhalt, hears about the disk. Photos show it’s in bad shape; Westphal had accidentally damaged it with his pick and inexpert cleaning.
Meller, the State Criminal Investigation Office, and other officials come up with a plan to get the objects back. Like Indiana Jones, Meller knows that a find like this belongs in a museum.
The item of interest, now known as the Nebra Sky Disk, is a five-pound* plate of bronze inlaid with dozens of gold symbols. The gold figures include a lunar crescent, a large circle, and 30 small circles.
After studying the disk for many years, archaeologists have concluded that it is the oldest and accurate diagram of the sky ever found. The disk was a carefully made map used both for practical and religious purposes.
One of the most important components of the disk is a tight group of seven stars placed between the lunar crescent and the large circle denoting the full moon.
They represent the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, a cluster of stars visible with the naked eye to people in the Northern Hemisphere. The Pleiades were known to, depicted by, and followed with interest by ancient cultures around the globe.
Read the full article via The Amazing Sky Calendar That Ancients Used to Track Seasons – Facts So Romantic – Nautilus.
by Brett Williamson,
Photo: Proud Kaurna man Stephen Gadlabarti Goldsmith in traditional face paint. (Supplied: Trentino Prior).
“Kulurdu marni ngathaitya.”That’s Stephen Gadlabarti Goldsmith’s favourite saying in Kaurna language, and it translates in English to “[that] sounds good to me”.
Mr Goldsmith grew up believing he was Narungga, due to his mother’s family history of being held at the Point Pearce Mission and Aboriginal Station on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.
“My mother was probably the first generation to move off the mission and to come back and live in the Adelaide area,” he said.
But when Mr Goldsmith was told he was Kaurna, he began a search to learn more about his cultural heritage and the language of his people.
Kaurna place names:
Tartanyagga – Male red kangaroo rock (Adelaide south of the Torrens); Karrawirra Pari – Redgum forest river (River Torrens); Ngangkiparingga – Woman river place (Onkaparinga River); Pathawilya – Swamp gum foliage (Glenelg); Kauwantila – In the north (Cowandilla); Kangkarrila – Shepherding place (Kangarilla); Nurlungga – Bend place (Horseshoe Bend on Onkaparinga River); Yartapuulti – Land of sleep/death (Port Adelaide.)
“It was like being told you were an adopted child,” he said. The Kaurna people lived in the Adelaide Hills and plains area prior to European colonisation.
Early work was done to record the Kaurna language by several colonists, but the extensive documentation by German missionaries Clamor Schumann and Christian Teichelmann is said to have saved it from extinction.
The missionaries ran a Kaurna language school from 1840 till 1846.They recorded about 2,000 words and 200 sentences before their work was stopped by governor George Grey, who forbade the use of the language in 1846.
And it wasn’t until the 1980s, when the German missionaries’ notes were discovered, that linguists went about reviving Kaurna.
In his 1621 opus The Anatomy of Melancholy, Robert Burton wrote, “The Turks have a drink called coffa (for they use no wine), so named of a berry as black as soot, and as bitter … which they sip still of, and sup as warm as they can suffer; they spend much time in those coffa-houses, which are somewhat like our alehouses or taverns…”
Several decades later, readers would require no such explanations: England would be awash in coffeehouses, numbering in the thousands.
The curious story of how the British swapped much of their daily ale consumption for this “syrop of soot, or essence of old shoes,” is told by Matthew Green in “The Lost World of The London Coffee House,” on the Public Domain Review.
Prior to 1652, when Pasqua Rosée established a small coffeehouse in St. Michael’s Alley in London, coffee was virtually unknown in England.
Rosée, a servant of a coffee-loving trader to the Levant, found tremendous success with his venture and, according to Green, was soon selling over 600 servings a day.
Coffeehouses quickly became popular places for men to converse and congregate, and Green notes that women soon grew tired of their absence.
This exasperation mounted until the 1674 Women’s Petition Against Coffee, which claimed that “Excessive use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE” led to England’s falling birthrate, making men “as unfruitful as the sandy deserts, from where that unhappy berry is said to be brought.”
Men, as they are wont to do, expressed their disagreement, and stated in Men’s Answer to the Women’s Petition Against Coffee that coffee made “the erection more vigorous, the ejaculation more full, add[ing] a spiritual ascendency to the sperm.”