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Fashion of Black Teeth in Old Japan by lilsuika 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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:iconbunni89:
Bunni89 Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Artist
Wow, this is so fascinating! I'm curious whether it made their food taste strange or left an aftertaste in the mouth. I can't imagine dye would be very pleasant so close to your tongue, after all. Ah, the sacrifices made for nobility!
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:iconsofitssofi:
sofitssofi Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014
so that's why I saw many picture of japanese ghosts with black teeth.... they were actually very sincere and loyal women. That makes their image even sadder D:
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:iconladyzosimos:
ladyZosimos Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014
Thank you! It's very informative and fun to read because of the pretty pictures. Do you draw them? Cool!
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:iconpagodacomics:
PagodaComics Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student General Artist
WOW, I only knew it happened at times but didn't even know men were doing it as well. Thank you very much again the educational post! :hug:
I wonder how that stuff tastes, since it comes off... <,<
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:iconthefadedpanda:
thefadedpanda Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's kinda gross looking, but I guess it was the thing at the time Llama Emoji-11 (Come Here) [V1] 
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:iconurtear:
Urtear Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
the black teeth smile *shiver* so creepy tho >w<
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:iconpetitebubu:
PetiteBubu Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have no words. Wow. Well, the more you know...
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:iconcharliestatzer:
charliestatzer Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Student General Artist
Didn't know that was thing back then. Well you learn something new everyday. :)
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:iconanakarayaravenclaw23:
Ive always had a fascination with certain cultural practices from around the world and painting teeth black was one of them. I know in some tribes in Southeast Asia they still practice this custom but Ive always wanted to know the hows and whys of the custom in Japan. Thank you for this interesting look into the practice!  
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:iconizzymarrie:
IzzyMarrie Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I've heard of the tradition of painting the teeth black in Japan, but I never knew why or which people in Japan did this.  Thank you so much for the detailed information  ^_^  It's very interesting
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