Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

dealing with Body odor during Tang


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 浪淘音

浪淘音

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 628 posts

Posted 09 February 2005 - 05:06 PM

from "China's Golden Age: Everyday life during the Tang" by Charles Benn

"There was not much tolerance for body odor in the Tang. In that period, the word for the stench was "Barbarian B.O". The barbarians in question were westerners, mainly Persians, but also Indians and other people living west of the empire. Those people earned such a reputation for their offensive smell that they became synonymous with body odor...The Chinese, at least the upper class, were sensitive to the problem. During the 8th century, a courtesan in Changan was so skilled in applying scents to her body that her fragrance lured butterflies and bees to her. It was also custom for people of high station to attach small cloth bags filled with aromatics to their waist sashes.

Medical authorities had their own solutions to the problem of body odor. They made deodorants made out of lime, frakenscense, cloves and sweet gum. The compound was packed in bags and slung around their armpits. "

#2 TMPikachu

TMPikachu

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 2,545 posts

Posted 09 February 2005 - 05:59 PM

Neat info!

What about bathing?
"the way has more than one name, and wise men have more than one method. Knowledge is such that it may suit all countries, so that all creatures may be saved..."

#3 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 10 February 2005 - 11:53 PM

The Chinese elite tried to bathe everyday, unlike the European aristocracy who bathed only a few times a year. The hot springs of Huaqing Palace were precisely for that purpose in serving the imperial court.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#4 浪淘音

浪淘音

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 628 posts

Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:43 AM

The Chinese elite tried to bathe everyday, unlike the European aristocracy who bathed only a few times a year. The hot springs of Huaqing Palace were precisely for that purpose in serving the imperial court.

 


it was more like once every 5 days which is still excellent by ancient standards. there was a point when court officials got a day off once a week just to go wash their hair

#5 Sephodwyrm

Sephodwyrm

    Vanguard of Zhan Guo (战国先锋)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 2,711 posts
  • Location:Tucson, Arizona, US of A
  • Interests:Upsetting regional imbalances
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Warring States Military, Chinese Sketches and Artwork

Posted 11 February 2005 - 02:24 AM

Washing hair takes a whole day huh.
Fortunately we can cut our hair.
Maxim-Ivan Illustrations
Chief Editor and Founder
Our Deviantart Site

#6 浪淘音

浪淘音

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 628 posts

Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:56 AM

Washing hair takes a whole day huh.
Fortunately we can cut our hair.

 


it took a long time because people didn't wash it everyday so you'd make up for it on on day

so you're saying because you have short hair,you don't shower every day?

#7 TMPikachu

TMPikachu

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 2,545 posts

Posted 14 February 2005 - 03:18 PM

I think he means having really long hair just plain took longer.


Was there anything around like shampoo, or soaps? Animal lard extract or something ?

Howabout teeth?
"the way has more than one name, and wise men have more than one method. Knowledge is such that it may suit all countries, so that all creatures may be saved..."

#8 浪淘音

浪淘音

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 628 posts

Posted 15 February 2005 - 12:04 AM

I think he means having really long hair just plain took longer.
Was there anything around like shampoo, or soaps? Animal lard extract or something ?

Howabout teeth?

 


the ancient Chinese toothbrush was made out of horsehair. i'm not sure how many people used it or how frequently

there were MANY soaps and shampoos, i'll type up some quotes from text soon. too tired right now

#9 TMPikachu

TMPikachu

    Emperor (Huangdi 皇帝)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 2,545 posts

Posted 17 February 2005 - 04:10 PM

now, compared to the rest of the world. Did other cultures at this time have soaps, tooth brushes?
Were there public bath houses, like what romans had?
"the way has more than one name, and wise men have more than one method. Knowledge is such that it may suit all countries, so that all creatures may be saved..."

#10 浪淘音

浪淘音

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 628 posts

Posted 19 February 2005 - 03:46 AM

now, compared to the rest of the world. Did other cultures at this time have soaps, tooth brushes?
Were there public bath houses, like what romans had?

 


you just answered your own question.

#11 Yun

Yun

    Sage-King

  • CHF Han Lin Scholar
  • 9,057 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore/USA
  • Interests:Ancient Chinese history, with a focus on the Age of Fragmentation. Chinese ethnicities, religion, philosophy, music, and art and material culture. Military history in general.
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    Chinese History
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Three Kingdoms, Age of Fragmentation, Sui-Tang

Posted 19 February 2005 - 10:22 AM

Actually he was probably asking if the Chinese had public bathhouses. I think the standards of Confucian propriety made that quite impossible, unlike in Japan. Tang Xuanzong had his hot spring, but that was quite different.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.

#12 浪淘音

浪淘音

    State Undersecretary (Shangshu Lang 尚书郎)

  • CHF Grand Historian Award
  • 628 posts

Posted 19 February 2005 - 12:50 PM

Actually he was probably asking if the Chinese had public bathhouses. I think the standards of Confucian propriety made that quite impossible, unlike in Japan. Tang Xuanzong had his hot spring, but that was quite different.

 


Tang China did have public bathhouses if i remember correctly

#13 xuankong

xuankong

    County Magistrate (Xianling 县令)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 7 posts

Posted 02 March 2005 - 09:39 AM

Hi All,

My first post here.

From a later time period, but here is what Ming dynasty doctor Zhang Jiebin wrote about dealing with body odor:

Eliminating the root of armpit qi [body odor]: Overall, with armpit qi, first use a sharp knife to cleanly shave off the armpit hair. Then mix good starch powder and water and apply it to the affected site. Six or seven days later, look for a black spot below the armpit. There must be a hole the size of a needle. Some are like the tip of a hairpin. This is the qi [odor] orifice. Apply moxibustion to it with mugwort cones the size of [a grain of] rice. 3 [times] 4 cones will bring recovery. It will never emerge again.


This is from leijing tuyi (Illustrated Supplement to the Classic of Categories), published in 1624.

I am an acupuncturist who translates some medical texts and this was contained in a section I have worked on.

Lorraine

#14 chikipedia

chikipedia

    County Magistrate (Xianling 县令)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 7 posts

Posted 25 July 2006 - 03:53 PM

eastern empires bathe more then the westerners? in ancient angkor, the chinese document that there are large man made pools fragrance with flowers and even the commoners bathe 3 or more times a day, so do east asians have a strange reaction to the uncleansed?

#15 Sun_WuKong

Sun_WuKong

    Prefect (Taishou 太守)

  • CHF Rookie Member
  • 10 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 28 August 2006 - 05:55 PM

Yeah, I think bathing in pool with flower petals is quite common among the Chinese, just as long as they can afford it.
I, Chang Tzu dreamed I was a butterfly. Now that I wake, I do not know if I am a man who dreamed of a butterfly, Or a butterfly dreaming I am man. - Chang Tzu




2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users