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I am trying to find historical references to sunglasses or shades.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!!

Anonymous

*blows dust off Tumblr*

HI THERE.

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.

image

Yeeeaaaah.

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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.)

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

https://melnickmedicalmuseum.com/2010/02/17/medieval-sunglasses/

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 – scholarworks.iu.edu
You can view more past issues of this journal here. [link]

SPECTACLES MENTIONED IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE (just a citation)
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)
(PMID:4922899)
Tannebaum S
Journal of the American Optometric Association
[01 Oct 1970, 41(10):868-869]

http://www.medievalists.net/2016/03/medieval-eyeglasses-wearable-technology-of-the-thirteenth-century/

http://www.antiquespectacles.com/history/ages/through_the_ages.htm
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!

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/sunglasses.htm
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.

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Resources • Medieval Colloquium • Ask a Medievalist • AAM columns • The University of the South

Resources • Medieval Colloquium • Ask a Medievalist • AAM columns • The University of the South

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