Fashion of Black Teeth in Old Japan

A Yedo 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)



Angelina Weld Grimke

  • Angelina Grimké was born on February 27, 1880 in Boston, Massachusetts
  • She was born into a biracial family of abolitionists and civil rights activists
  • Her aunts were well known abolitionists Angelina and Sarah Grimké
  • Angelina graduated from the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics in 1902
  • After graduating, she became an English teacher in Washington, D.C.
  • She taught at Armstrong Manual Training School and then later taught at Dunbar High School in 1916
  • While teaching she also continued her education by taking classes at Harvard during the summer
  • Around this time Angelina began to write poems and essays on racisms that were published in The Crisis, an NAACP newspaper
  • She produced her play, Rachel, in 1916 and published it in 1920
  • Angelina wrote the play for the NAACP to protest against the film, The Birth of a Nation (1915)
  • Rachel is also considered one of the first plays to protest against racial violence and lynching
  • She is considered to be part of the Harlem Renaissance since many of her poems and essays were published in anthologies from that period
  • Many of her poems explore racism but she also writes about her sexuality (it is believed that she was either bisexual or a lesbian)
  • In 1928, her father became sick and she took care of him until he died in 1930
  • After her father’s death she moved to Brooklyn, New York where she lived out the rest of her life
  • Angelina died on June 10, 1958 in New York

Sources: wikipedia, pinterest, britannica, sappho



Hand-and-a-Half Sword

  • Dated: first half of the 16th century
  • Culture: North European
  • Measurements: overall lenght 92.5 cm

The sword is presents in excavated condition. It features a broad double-edged blade cut with three narrow central fullers over nearly its entire length on each side, the iron hilt comprising a figure-eight shaped guard made of a single slender tapering circular-section bar in the form of a snake bent round upon itself, flat sharply tapering tang, and large rounded pommel with a separate rosette-shaped brass button.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Bonhams



Miniature Ottoman Gem-set Dagger

  • Dated: 19th century
  • Medium: steel, green glass, rubies, emeralds, gold, velvet,
  • Place of Origin: Turkey
  • Measurements: 11.7 cm. long

This miniature dagger is based on a 17th century prototype, an emerald-hilted example of which can be seen in the collection of Topkapi Saray, Istanbul, inv. no. 2/ 152. The dagger features a green glass hilt with quillons set with rubies and emeralds, the gold damascened blade features an inscription.

The gilt scabbard is set with further rubies and emeralds and chased to depict a trailing vine, verso with a trailing vine and scale design chape. The suspension loop comes with a chain with faceted sections and green glass beads, in original fitted velvet box with the tughra of HIH Princess ‘Adile Sultana (1825-1898).


  1. Princess ‘Adile Sultana (1825 -1898) or HIH Princess ‘Adile Sultana (Turkish: Adile Sultan) was the daughter of Sultan Mahmud II (1785-1839) and sister of the Sultans Abdulmecid I and Abdulaziz. She was an Ottoman princess, a renowned female Diwan poet and a philanthropist.
  2. Born in Constantinople, Adile Sultana lost her mother at a very young age, and was raised by Nevfidan Kadin, the chief sultana in the palace. She received a high standard of education and was, like her father, very interested in the arts.
  3. In 1845, Adile Sultana married the commander of the fleet Kapudan-i Derya Mehmed Ali Pasha, who served briefly as Grand Vizier to Sultan Abdulmecid (1823-1861).
  4. She lost her three children and later her husband in 1868. In deep mourning, she entered the order of Naqshbandi and devoted herself to charitable activities before her death in 1898. She was interned in the mausoleum of her husband in Eyüp, Istanbul. 
  5. Adile Sultana’s literary works were as successful as those of Leyla Hanim and Fitnat Hanim, two renowned female poets of her era. However, her works are important as they shed light on palace life and the administration of the Ottoman Empire.
  6. She composed a poem about the murder of her younger brother Sultan Abdulaziz (1830-1876), officially deemed a suicide. She also assisted in publishing the printed version of the Divan of Suleyman the Magnificent (1494-1566). A compilation of her poetry ‘Adile Sultan’s Divan was published in 1996.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Bonhams