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Fashion of Black Teeth in Old Japan

By lilsuika
A Yedo (Edo) chemist's recipe for black teeth dye from Tales of Old Japan by A.B. Mitford (1871):

"Take three pints of water, and, having warmed it, add half a teacupful of wine. Put into this mixture a quantity of red-hot iron; allow it to stand for five or six days, when there will be a scum on the top of the mixture, which should then be poured into a small teacup and placed near a fire. When it is warm, powdered gallnuts and iron filings should be added to it, and the whole should be warmed again. The liquid is then painted on to the teeth by means of a soft feather brush, with more powdered gallnuts and iron, and, after several applications, the desired colour will be obtained." (Mitford 203)

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© 2014 - 2021 lilsuika
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IIStonerSlothII's avatar
history class doesn't even teach us this kind of stuff..it's so ineresting
mspace2000's avatar
I thought it was more of a Vietnamese thing then Japanese.
AlessiaOfMankind3103's avatar
Eyyo, I'm learning something new - every time I look at your amazing artworks! x3

Keep it up!
TerminallyPrudential's avatar
I knew there were some tribes in the jungle that did this, but as far as Japan goes I only learned about this tradition recently.
Mrs-Elizabeth's avatar
Wow. That is amazing info. Nice job. So interesting. I never knew this factoid, and it is very cool that you made this to share it. Thanks.
Verity96's avatar
I first heard about this custom in the Tale of princess Kaguya but later on could not find any more information about it. Thank you for sharing.
DodoDuuDuu's avatar
This is really nice! I love how informative this is.Porylove Emote 
UmibeTheOceanGoddess's avatar
Wow. Very informative.
Mudpaw1's avatar
This is a nice refresher from history class. My teacher made us learn weird stuff every day XP
MarcelaFreire's avatar
Very interesting! However, I am a little bit uncomfortable with the fact that one teeth is in the center of the face. Is it supposed to be like that(idk if I've missed something in the text)?
ViolaZierau's avatar
Dont you know that Asian People have a big Middle tooth? Also their Vagina is sideways
criminol's avatar
im gonna start yelling HEY WHITE TEETH at people
GelynnArt's avatar
"Heads with white teeth aren't worth bringing home!" scoffs, casually tosses peasant head. - Something about that bit was oddly comical. :giggle:

Imagine if blackened teeth suddenly became a "new" instagram trend. There would have to be something appealing, like also glowing blue from a black light. 
gaoyuqing's avatar
I thought the teeth blacking was done to hide/imitate the tooth decay prevalent among the emperor/ess.  Their teeth would get rotten and black, and, rather than point this failure out, the nobles would paint their teeth black to imitate this appearance.
ShaShaSha777's avatar
I'm not surprised that tasking make-up customs would then be staunchly followed by the natural look short after.
TomboyJessie13's avatar
Then it's probably a good thing I wasn't in Heian Japan, I would've been see as a laughing stock by the nobility, especially since my teeth are badly shaped.
Shattered-Gemstone's avatar
Nelyasun's avatar
fashion can be pretty unusual XD
FerryQueen's avatar
I heard about the Japanese beauty regimen back then: women shave their eyebrows, paint their faces white, and paint new eyebrows. Especially, painting their teeth black, that is something you don't hear from or see every day.
grisador's avatar
That's very interesting, useful but odd at the same time ! :D
BIasty's avatar
that's pretty wild, but not as crazy as hobbling or century eggs
Redtriangle's avatar
I only find them good if I'm having rice porridge.
Parsat's avatar
Century eggs are pretty delicious though.
KevinEvra's avatar
I love those. 
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