Saturday, April 14, 2018

10th Century Golden Heart Jewel Worn by Bulgarian Empress Discovered in Medieval Capital Veliki Preslav

A remarkable golden jewel in the shape of a heart decorated with a five-color enamel, which may have belonged to the wife of Tsar Petar I (r. 927-969), has been discovered by archaeologists during excavations in Veliki Preslav (“Great Preslav"), Shumen District, in today’s Northeast Bulgaria,which was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018) from 893 until 970.

The heart-shaped 23-karat gold jewelhas been found in the ruins of what is believed to have been an imperial residence of the Tsars of the First Bulgarian Empire who ruled from Veliki Preslav.

The dating and the exquisite craftsmanship of the jewel have led the archaeological team to hypothesize that it may have belonged to Tsaritsa (Empiress) Maria Lakapene, a Byzantine noble, who married Tsar Petar I in 927, taking the name Irene (meaning “peace").

This newly discovered over 1,000-year-old golden heart jewel with glass enamel is believed to have belonged to a 10th century Bulgarian Tsaritsa (Empress). Photo: Shum

Siberia salutes British nurse who set up a leper colony in remote Yakutian village

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Kate Marsden travelled with the active support of both Queen Victoria of England and the Tsarina of Russia, Maria Fedorovna. Much later, after her return, her odyssey would be marred by sexual innuendo, yet this unfair accusation from her detractors can in no way obscure her achievements.

In an era of extraordinary adventurers, hers was especially noteworthy in this era both because she was a woman travelling alone, and due to the sheer scale of her undertaking, to reach one of the remotest areas of Yakutia in search of an elusive herbal cure for leprosy.

By the time of her trip, she had already made her mark, and won the hearts of Russians, as a battle-hardened nurse caring for the wounded during the war between Russia and Turkey in 1878. There are accounts of her, then aged 19, stalking the battlefield at night, bringing relief to soldiers felled during the day's fighting. It was at this time that she had her first contact with lepers, and it was to their cause that she devoted her life's work.

Russian nurses, inspired by Marsden, staffed the colony when it was opened and consecrated on 5 December 1892, the year after her visit. It was completed six years after she left. Astonishingly, it survived not only the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and the ensuing Civil War, but lasted to the early 1960s, pioneering the extermination of leprosy in Yakutia.

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Enriqueta Martí - The Vampiress of Barcelona

Enriqueta Martí. Wikipedia/Public Domain
At the beginning of the 20th century, Enriqueta Martí — a woman from the witchcraft-steeped countryside of Cataluña — came to Barcelona. Rather than “The Pearl of the Mediterranean” she saw Barcelona as “The City of Death”. In the evenings she worked as a prostitute, and during the day she begged for charity. She imposed the same schedule to the children on the street who she used as her own while she begged, the same children who she introduced to prostitution.

It is suspected that she kidnapped a large number of children over a span of twenty years. Martí was never tried for her crimes. She died a year and three months after her arrest at the hands of her prison mates.

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Women Firefighters Battle Child Marriage in India

From Link TV:
Battling age-old patriarchal attitudes in her village, Nirma Chaudhary is one of around 30 women recently recruited from Rajasthan's towns and villages as part of an affirmative action policy to encourage women to join the fire service.

The policy reserves 33 percent of government jobs for women candidates and has helped increase the number of women in the police and administrative services but it was not implemented in the fire service until last year.

In a region where child marriages are widespread, the recruitment of these women is not only increasing their participation in a male-dominated profession, but also helping to dismantle a harmful practice which affects generations.

Rajasthan — one of India's premier tourist destinations where millions flock annually for its ancient fortresses and camel-back safaris — records higher than the national average, with 65.2 percent of women being married off as child brides.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Constance Markievicz - The Countess Who Rebelled

Countess Markiewicz.jpgCountess Markievicz played an active part in the Easter Rising of 1916, and also in post-1916 Irish history. Born in 1868 as Constance Gore-Booth, Countess Markievicz was sentenced to death for her part in the Easter Uprising but had the sentence commuted to life incarceration on account of her gender. Her life was full of excitement, and many battles for the causes of suffrage for women or for establishing the independence of the Republic of Ireland from the British rule. There no way to make the long story short in her case.

She was an Irish Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist. In December 1918, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, though she did not take her seat and, along with the other Sinn Féin TDs, formed the first Dáil Éireann. She was also one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position, as a Minister for Labour of the Irish Republic, from 1919 to 1922.

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Armenia’s "Missing Girls"

Image result for sex symbolsSex selection may have been outlawed, but a shortage of women threatens the very survival of a country where boys are traditionally seen as an investment and girls as a loss.

Sometimes it seems there are so many ways to destroy women that the methods become invisible to us. There are some women you will never see because they will never be born.

Amartya Sen talked of “missing women” in his famous 1990 essay because of technologies that enable prenatal sex selection.

Most people are aware this happens in China and India, but I am in Armenia, talking to a nervy woman in her early 30s. We are in the eastern region of Gavar, which is second only to China in the number of female foetuses that are aborted. Here, 120 boys are born for every 100 girls.
Armenia really needs its missing women. “We lose 1,400 girls a year. In the long term who will our boys marry? How will we consolidate the Armenian nation? We are only 3 million people. We have no right to such losses. There will be no mothers to give birth to girls,” says Khalafyan.

read more here @ The Guardian

Admiring Flowers in Ancient Times

During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960), it is said that the official Han Xizai loved to burn incense near a flower vase because he liked the combination of the fragrance of flowers and incense. Using flowers in this way was popular during Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), people preferred to chant or sip wine while being surrounded by flowers. Music also goes well with flowers and refined scholars in Song Dynasty loved to play music to flowers. The musical instruments were thought to match different kinds of flowers. According to ancient book records, elegant flowers such as jasmine went well with the musical instrument heptachord.

China's only female emperor Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty was obsessed with flowers. The peony in ancient Luoyang was quite famed and each year when peonies flowered, she would hold celebrations and feasts.

This language was used by only women in China

Nüshu is considered to be the world’s only writing system that is created and used exclusively by women in China.

Originating in China’s Jiangyong county in the nineteenth century, it is endangered today but the country’s local and national authorities are working to revive it.

The earliest known artefact in the Nüshu script is a bronze coin discovered in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province. It was minted during the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, a rebel kingdom in China from 1851 to 1864, which introduced important social reforms and adapted to a certain extent several policies regarding gender equality. The eight characters etched in Nüshu on the coin mean “all the women in the world are members of the same family”.


read more here @ Pulse

Liberia bans female genital cutting in a triumph for local journalism

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf left office in January with a tremendous, if overdue, parting gift for the girls of Liberia. During her final hours in office, Africa’s first woman elected head of state signed an executive order abolishing female genital cutting, an ancient practice that is endured by more than half of Liberia’s girls.

The fight is not quite over. Lawmakers have a year to enshrine the ban into law, and it may be many years before the law is properly enforced. But it is a momentous step that seemed unthinkable just six years ago, when an explosive newspaper article propelled the issue onto the national agenda.

No one thinks FGC ended in Liberia with one article, but what it did do was spark a vibrant national dialogue that boosted the work of anti-FGC campaigners.