Chinese Sunglasses

I am trying to find historical references to sunglasses or shades. All I can find are references to unreliable sources and dead ends. If you search ’12th century chinese sunglasses’ lots of articles appear but again, nothing I can use. Do you see anything in the later SCA time period? Thanks!!


*blows dust off Tumblr*


So the issue I’m running into is a lot of books/websites make reference to smokey quartz being used in 12th century China to shield the eyes/expressions of judges in court – but there’s no citation for this. Which, as a SCAdian Sinologist, makes me raise an eyebrow.

LIke this image being captioned as 12th century smokey quartz glasses. I don’t believe it, because I don’t trust random Tumblr/Pinterest user as a reliable source.




I do have images of Tang Dynasty eye-shades, from Secrets of the Silk Road (2010). They were only used as grave goods, though. Apparently the afterlife requires sunglasses. (Really, it was protection against sand and such, not unlike Inuit eyeshades.)


But here’s what I found – but remember your CRAAP test when going through these resources.

Developments in optometry can be traced back to the 1st century AD

The quest to correct and improve vision is one of man’s oldest medical challenges.
By Victoria Ward
The Telegraph, November 3, 2010

Medieval optometric traditions. [PDF]L Bieganowski – HINDSIGHT: Journal of Optometry History, 2009 –
You can view more past issues of this journal here. [link]

A Barnett
American Journal of Optometry and Archives of American Academy of Optometry. 19(2):92, FEB 1942

Franciscus Maurolycus and his Photismi de Lumine, a chapter in late medieval optics. (just a citation)
Tannebaum S
Journal of the American Optometric Association
[01 Oct 1970, 41(10):868-869]
This one makes me go mnnneeeh, but it has some images and some footnotes, though the whole thing isn’t cited super well imho.

The Invention of Spectacles between the East and the West
Interesting perspective – because SO MANY of these articles tend to be Euro-centric. This is refreshing, and has citations! Whee!
This is one Wikipedia cites, and while it has some book references, those books don’t really have citations. So I’m kind of meh.

An uncommon history of common things. Volume 2
Author: National Geographic Society (U.S.)
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, [2015]

Panati’s extraordinary origins of everyday things
Author: Charles Panati
Publisher: New York, NY : Chartwell Books, 2016.

Magna Faire Musings

Tang Dynasty Selfie!
Tang Dynasty Selfie!

I’m home, rested, and decompressed from Magna Faire this weekend, so I thought I’d take a moment and write down a few thoughts.

  1. People in Meridies are amazingly warm and welcoming. I was able to put so many faces to names this weekend, and I met many many new people whose names I hope I can remember. I’m not sure if it is a southern thing, a Meridian thing, or both – it was truly awesome.
  2. It is SO MUCH FUN to geek out with people about stuff. And I love finding the common ground between various regions/cultures/time periods that allows for that.
  3. I entered the Western Han Dynasty silk shoes project I have been working on over the last month (has it really only been a month?) in the Stella Nova novice arts and sciences competition  and recieved some great feedback. I need to tweak some things in my documentation, change my fabrics around, figure out a better way to stiffen fabric instead of using buckram, and investigate the prospects of weaving the sole so I can do the weirdly cool twisty thing it does.
  4. I need to step up my Feast Gear game. Like whoa, self. You need a better tablecloth (read: an actual tablecloth), and just… better. Also candle holders + candles because those are neat.
  5. Dip pens are a thing I need to just bite the bullet and do. I think what has given me issues in the past has been the fact that the dip pens I have had access too haven’t been really great. I’ve reached out for advice and help, and I am eager to get started learning and stepping up my game in that way.

You know when you get that feeling when you meet new people and see their work and you’re just in awe, and then you take a step back and breathe and can only say to yourself, “Wow, Self. You really need to step it up because damn.” You just get SO INSPIRED by the talent and abilities of others that you just want to keep pushing yourself to do more. To do better.

Stagnation is death. Never be comfortable. Keep climbing. Keep pushing. Do the thing.


Scribal Documentation Template.docx – Google Drive

Scribal Documentation Template.docx – Google Drive