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guy

Discovered: Ancient Chinese Face Cream

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An interesting find in China: a 2,700 year old ornate bronze jar with an intact white substance thought to be a face cream.

The belief is that they were using cosmetics on their face made of animal fat and "cave milk or moonmilk"

 

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  • Researchers excavated a tomb at the site of Liujiawa, the capital city of Rui
  • This was a vassal state prior to the unification of China by the Qin Dynasty
  • Bronze funerary weapons in the tomb indicated that it belonged to a nobleman
  • The team also found an ornate bronze vessel full of a yellow-white cosmetic
  • It would have turned the wearer's face white and may have been a status symbol
  • Alternatively, the moonmilk in the cream may have been thought magical 

During the so-called 'Spring and Autumn' period (771–476 BC) — before China was unified by the Qin dynasty — Liujiawa was the capital of a vassal state named Rui

Chinese noblemen were using cosmetics made from animal fat and cave 'milk' on their faces some 2,700 years ago, a study has reported. Pictured, the ornate jar containing the remains of the face cream dating back to China's so-called 'Spring and Autumn' period (771–476 BC)

Chinese noblemen were using cosmetics made from animal fat and cave 'milk' on their faces some 2,700 years ago, a study has reported. Pictured, the ornate jar containing the remains of the face cream dating back to China's so-called 'Spring and Autumn' period (771–476 BC).

Experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences excavated a nobleman's tomb — filled with assorted grave goods — at the Liujiawa dig site in northern China. Amid the nobleman's possessions were characteristic bronze funerary weapons and also an ornate bronze jar containing the remains of the ancient face cream, pictured

Experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences excavated a nobleman's tomb — filled with assorted grave goods — at the Liujiawa dig site in northern China. Amid the nobleman's possessions were characteristic bronze funerary weapons and also an ornate bronze jar containing the remains of the ancient face cream, pictured

The bronze jar after cleaning:

According to the researchers, they immediately suspected that the soft, yellow-white material in the ornate bronze jar — pictured after being cleaned up — was a cosmetic cream

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9236177/Archaeology-Ancient-Chinese-noblemen-used-cosmetics-animal-fat-cave-milk.html

 

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Summary: Fortunately the substance inside the bronze underwent chemical analysis.

I learned about "moonmilk" from this article. Moonmilk is an unusual soft white creamy or gooey substance found in caves, thought to be a precipitate from limestone that undergoes a bacterial reaction. This chemical reaction from bacteria (probably from bat excrement)  prevents the moonmilk from hardening. It was used in the past for cosmetics and gastrointestinal problems.

 

Here's an interesting video on moonmilk. The discussion on moonmilk and its discovery in a cave starts at 3:30:

 

 

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Abstract

Cosmetic has a long history in China while its origin has remained unclear. It potentially originated in the Spring and Autumn period (770‐476 BC) but little is known about its early manufacture and use. The Liujiawa Site, located at the southern edge of the Loess Plateau in northern China, was the late capital of the Rui State in the early to middle Spring and Autumn Period. During the excavation, a sealed small and exquisite container with suspected cosmetic use was unearthed from tomb M49 belonging to a male associated with the aristocratic class. Here, we report the multidisciplinary application of ATR‐FTIR, XRD, SEM, stable isotope analysis, GC/MS, and GC‐C‐IRMS analysis of the residue inside the container, demonstrating that the residue, made of ruminant adipose fat mixed with monohydrocalcite coming from cave moonmilk, was likely used as cosmetic face cream by the nobleman of ancient Rui State. This work provides an early example of cosmetic production in China and, together with the prevalence of similar cosmetic containers during this period, suggests the rise of an incipient cosmetics industry. Furthermore, the exploitation of moonmilk, a special stalactite in some limestone caves, reflects the link between early Taoist School and cosmetic production encouraged by the aristocratic class.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/arcm.12659

 

 

 

Edited by guy

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I don't know what to say. Some are losing their way during this COVID-19 shutdown ... others are doing experiments in self-care with "moonmilk."

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I WORE 2,700-YEAR-OLD MEN’S FACE CREAM FOR A WEEK

And my skin is the shiniest it’s ever been

https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/skincare-routine

 

This young man seems intense about his skin care:

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I don’t know what constitutes a skin-care regimen success story — I’m the sort of average guy who has fine enough skin, so it’s never occurred to me to use goop to improve it (save for that one time I went to a skin clinic to get a baby foreskin facial). But after a week of rubbing an ancient, grainy white paste onto my skin every night before bed, I’m inclined to believe that the Taoists may have been onto something. 

 

Edited by guy

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