Although the canons of beauty have changed over time, the search to improve physical appearance or modify personal aesthetics seems to accompany humanity for a long time.
Account of it can give it the discovery of a team of Chinese scientists, finding what, it is estimated, would be cosmetics stored in a well-preserved bronze jar that would be about 2700 years old.
The so-called Spring and Autumn period, which occurred between 771 BC and 476 BC, was a time of political fragmentation, infighting and rebellions, but it did not impede the progress of the aristocracy and technological advancement. These times were the stage preceding the Warring States period, which ended in the unification of China by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC.
In 2017, a team of scientists, during the excavation, found what is believed to be a skin whitening cream on the grave of an aristocrat of that time, located at the archaeological site of Liujiawa, in Chengcheng, in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.
During these years, the team of researchers analyzed the composition of the chemical products contained in the vessel and concluded that it could be a facial whitening cream for men, such as published in february the academic journal Archaeometry.
The jar in which the cream was found, well preserved and with lid, found in the outer casket, near the occupant’s head. The jar and the lid were sealed. After opening it under controlled conditions, the equico found that the jar was filled with an agglomeration of white clumps, slightly yellowish, which weighed in total about 6 grams.
“This is the oldest men’s cosmetic found in China and it is also the country’s first facial cream that we know of,” said Sun Zhanwei, chief researcher at the Shaanxi Academy of Archeology, who led the excavation of the tomb. to China News Service.
“Although we have no idea what the occasions were that the Liujiawa aristocrat might have used the face cream, he should considered a precious item as it was important enough to put in a grave”, He added.
According to Sun, aristocrats of the time used cosmetics as a way to follow fashion trends and to express, in this way, their cultural identity.
According to the article published by the researchers, the material that was found inside the vessel it was made up of animal fat (probably from cattle) mixed with monohydrocalcite, a mineral made up of calcium carbonate and water.
Through microscopic analysis, it was observed that the yellowish clumps contained grayish-white particles. The aggregation of these white particles was only seen, also, in the paste that was inside the sealed bottle, although it was not observed in the outer surface of the bottle.
According to the research, animal fat as a source of glycerolipids provided emollient, moisturizing and cleansing functions for the skin. Likewise, it was concluded that the recipe for the cream found in the jar is similar to other recipes found in ancient Chinese medical books.
This archaeological study, promoted by the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities, the National Foundation for Natural Sciences of China, the National Fund for Social Sciences of China and the Association for the Promotion of Youth Innovation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, shows that, in addition to being a culinary ingredient, animal products were also explored in the artisanal way of making cosmetics in ancient times Y that humans have been interested in maintaining standards of beauty for thousands of years.
“Men who use cosmetics not only have the purpose of beautifying their skin, but this custom is also related to the social environment,” concluded Sun.