Posts tagged history
Posts tagged history
A noblewoman from the Khalka people of Mongolia. Photo taken circa 1908.
Think I just found the inspiration for Queen Amidala’s royal robes.
It’s Time to Talk About Black Tudors
‘A criminally neglected part of British history is the true scope of the African diaspora in Britain that reaches as far back as Renaissance Europe. A new book by Onyeka Nubia seeks to rectify the problem, examining the lives of the thousands of blacks that lived in the UK in Tudor times. In Blackamoores: Africans in Tudor England, Onyeka Nubia shares research conducted in uncovering early evidence of Black existence in the United Kingdom, and proves that black presence was evident a lot earlier than is usually assumed. Nubia’s research focuses on the Tudor era (1485- 1603), specifically looking at the four English cities of London, Plymouth, Bristol and Barnstable.
This is not the first book published about African presence in England. Black Lives in the English Archives by Imtiaz Habib (2008) and Gustav Ungerer’s The Mediterranean Apprenticeship of British Slavery (2010) are two other books that look at similar subject matter and help substantiate the information uncovered in this research project. Additionally, just this year, academic Miranda Kaufman has published essays on the same research.
This is Ching Shih, a woman who went from being a prostitute to the captain of the largest and most powerful pirate fleet in Chinese history. She was granted amnesty and retired from piracy with all of the wealth she’d looted.
Stuff You Missed in History Class has a pretty good podcast about what’s known of her life. I’m rather annoyed they decided to call the show, “Don’t Cross the Dragon Lady”. Even if it was supposedly Ching Shih’s nickname—really?
Even though she was basically a floating gangster, I’d prefer seeing a swashbuckling movie about her (or Asian pirates in general) being produced than yet another Pirates of the Caribbean flick.
Reblog courtesy of LaughterKey sending me this link! <3
I always love seeing this fact pop up. Yeah, what we thought was the ancients just being really cool and aesthetic was actually the gaudy colors fading away over time. It’s like when people think that old houses were built better than they are now, when it’s really just that the shitty houses all fell down already.
Ummmm but the problem is not so much that they weren’t being “cool and aesthetic”; it’s that this entire western concept of aesthetics is built on a mistake.
fittingly, I was just reading this:
The Parthenon marbles Elgin took to Britain do consist of marble, but a darkly pitted Greek marble rather than the smooth, snowy white variety more common in Italy. Here lay an aesthetic problem: whiteness versus color. The alarming history of European marble “cleaning” includes a chapter on this statuary describing a drive to make ancient Greek art white that nearly destroyed the art itself. In the 1930s workers in the British Museum were directed to remove the dark patina with metal tools on the mistaken assumption that their proper color should be white. Such a “cleaning” seriously damaged the Parthenon marbles, prompting an inquiry by the museum’s standing committee that halted the work.
—Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People, page 63
It’s particularly obnoxious given the claims by so many British people that the marbles had to be removed to Britain in order to protect them.
The bold: People should really know about that, too.
And yes, it is connected with this article about Chromophobia and colonialism
which is also connected to the Reformation.
Especially if you think about (at least in an American context) the way that Catholicism has been, to a large degree, racialized. And how the Catholic Mass and other traditions came to be associated with licentiousness and was condemned for its use of decoration (aside form legitimate gripes with corruption).
see also: Calvinist Iconoclasm:
OMG!!! I FORGET PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THIS!
Yes, all those aloof, “pure” white statues from Ancient Greece?
They actually looked like this:
Vinzenz Brinkmann, much to the apparent chagrin of Westerners everywhere, used ultraviolet light to reveal the original paint schemes of these statues that the millennia had washed away.
And to underscore the Chromophobia?
In the summer of 1566, spurred on by the sermons of Calvinist preachers, zealous mobs descended on churches in the Netherlands, intent on ridding them entirely of their imagery. Many churches were literally white-washed.
All of these things are connected.
reblogging for someone who recently asked about this.
Someone also asked about over-cleaning or modifications made to various Greek and roman works in European Possession.
Medieval churches in England also suffered from a similar problem. Originally they were covered in murals, floor to ceiling, in the gaudiest colours they could manage. Part of it was probably to engage the illiterate population with a giant devotional picture book.
Here’s a snippet from one I studied in the Deanery of Durham Cathedral:
Then along came the Reformation with its accusations of idolatry, its desire for direct book learning for everyone and its general drive to
make everything boringremove the distractions of the material world.
In some churches, they chipped the images off the walls, but in many they just white-washed over them.
Which would be fine for us, since layers of white-wash can be removed to reveal the original paintings, as happened in the Deanery and as happens around the UK by accident on a regular basis, where the old white-wash is still in place.
But alas, the Victorians happened. They saw the bare stones of the thoroughly defaced churches and thought they had more grandeur than the white-washed or ,worse, the still painted churches, and so set about ‘restoring’ the churches of England.
Granted, compared to the art of the renaissance and the classical greek world, the English medieval murals do look like crude kiddy scribbles, offensive to the Victorian (and modern) sense of taste and not at all what they wanted in their monumental architecture. But they were the medieval decoration, like it or not.
'Victorian Restoration' is a well-known oxymoron in old architectural nerd circles. The walls of many churches were stripped back to the stone and in some cases, beyond. The entire outer surface of Durham Cathedral was chipped off (I forget the exact depth, some small number of centimetres), to make it 'clean'.
But yeah, prior to the Reformation, the British Isles loved colours. There were the sumptuary laws, in which the nobility tried to keep the wearing of awesome colours to themselves when rich commoners started to get in on the deal. There were the bardic rules in Ireland, where the higher rank a bard you were, the more colours you got to wear. And then there was the amazing rivalry between blue dye merchants and red dye merchants (you know why devils were painted as red? Because the blue dye merchants were slandering the red dye merchants.)
But alas, the Victorians Happened=best paragraph intro since everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked
It’s kind of mind-boggling how much of the mainstream notion of Western history prior to 1850 or so is the product of Victorian revisionism. There are entire eras whose image in the public consciousness is essentially wholly fictitious.
Super basic stuff here, guys.
Another day, another kick ass woman from history who is sadly lacking her own movie franchise.
There is literally nothing better than a sexy, badass lady.
CHING MOTHERFUCKING SHIH
This lady was such a badass, I can’t count the ways, but let’s try.
She got married to an already successful pirate, Zheng Yi, and took over when he died. She was crazy strict to keep an iron fist over her fleet of pirates, and the punishments for stepping out of line were brutal. If you stole or looted from a town that provided assistance or tribute to the pirate fleet, Ching would chop your fucking head off with a battle axe and dump your lifeless body in the ocean. If you stole from the pirate treasury, or she thought you were stealing from the pirate treasury, Ching would chop your fucking head off dump your lifeless body in the ocean. Raping any captured female prisoners was punishable by immediate death. Fuck, if you had consensual sex while on duty you got your head chopped off and the woman was chucked off the boat no matter where they were at. Ching wasn’t fucking around, and she wanted to make damn sure you weren’t fucking around when you should have been working.
Two years after she took over, she got so notorious for ransacking towns and taking taxes on them that she pissed off the entire Chinese government, and sent out a massive fleet to bring her in line. Most pirates probably would’ve said this was out of their pay grade and taken off to hide out or ransack some other country.
Ching Shih said fuck that.
She not only faced them head on, she wiped the floor with them, killing hundreds and capturing sixty-something ships from the Imperial Fleet. Prisoners were given the choice of joining up or being executed on the spot. The Admiral of the Chinese navy, Kwo Lang, was so afraid of being captured by her or going back to admit he’d been beaten by her that he committed suicide.
For the next two years, Ching Shih not only kept on pirating, she fought off Chinese forces as well as Dutch and British warships that the navy called in to help. Finally the government gave up and offered her amnesty as well as amnesty for her then SEVENTEEN THOUSAND crewman. Ching Shih got to keep all her plunder, so she retired to the countryside where she opened up a brothel and lived until she was 69.
tldr: I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’ll never be as terrifyingly badass as this woman was.
i will be as badass as she
You know, I heard of her, but I’d either forgotten or never heard that she grew old and retired having never been brought down or defeated ever.
She won being a pirate.
She got history’s high score.
Always reblog the best pirate of all times.
Where is my motherfucking Ching Shih movie trilogy? WHERE IS IT?
what did pugs do before they were domesticated
were there pug clans
imagine walking through the forest and encountering a clan of wild pugs
Pugs actually came to Western Europe from China in the 16th century but they look nothing like the modern day version.
We bred them to look like that and it’s actually terrible for them. In the UK there are about 10,000 registered pugs but they’re so inbred its the genetic equivalent of 50 individuals.
So there’s quite a bit of discussion on tumblr over the presence of people of color in ancient and medieval Europe. That’s all well and good, but what I find at least as interesting are legendary accounts of ancient and medieval Europeans visiting PoC lands, especially Africa. For example, the story about St. George slaying the dragon was originally set somewhere in “Libya”, which in classical jargon meant all of Africa west of the Nile. And then there’s the Greek Perseus traveling to “Aethiopia” (i.e. Nubia or Sudan) and pairing up with the beautiful native princess Andromeda after saving her from the sea monster. Sadly both the St. George and Perseus myths get the old whitewashing treatment in contemporary media, especially the damsels they rescue.
Actually I cover this topic quite a bit.
I have posts and series on the following:
Listen to the sound of your preconceived gender norms shattering under the weight of knowledge about the mothers of science fiction.