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A lavatory laboratory...

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  • Ii Saburou
    Greetings! Konnichiwa! Dajia hao ma! I m sure that people on the various lists this is going out to have had some experience with this question before, so I m
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 21, 2003
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      Greetings!
      Konnichiwa!
      Dajia hao ma!

      I'm sure that people on the various lists this is going out to have had
      some experience with this question before, so I'm hoping to get some
      response.

      I am looking to do some research into medieval lavatories and similar
      conveniences. I would specifically like to do a comparison of various
      solutions that arose in various countries, specifically looking at Europe
      vs. Asia.

      Where I am starting from:
      Egyptians had seat toilets
      There is mention of toilet hygiene in the Old Testament
      Greeks appear to have been ones for the 'outdoors' from what I've
      read.
      Romans had huge public toilets they took with them to the rest of
      Europe, and plumbing!
      Chamber pots were used (from when to when? There is literary
      mention that I have found in Asia, and of course the infamous
      head-splattering effect from people slopping it into the streets)
      Castles had the garderobe, often spewing out into the surrounding
      moat.
      The flush toilet seemes to have been invented in the very late
      16th century, but doesn't really catch on until afterwards.
      Scatalogical humor is found all over the place in late period
      France (surprised?)

      Early nomadic Japanese just went wherever
      Midden heaps had all sorts of garbage, human and otherwise
      Yayoi cesspits show introduction of new parasites possibly
      indicating change in diets.
      Early moats appear to have been used as they were around European
      castles.
      Small pits (one found 0.5m x 1.6 m x 0.4m deep) with wooden planks
      appear to be early upper-class family cesspits.
      Very early (Kofun?) 'water arrangers', once thought to be for
      ritualistic cleansing show signs of night soil contained inside,
      indicating its probable usage.
      Nara period and later capitals seem to have had a sewage system
      whereby running water made its way through the cities and was brought into
      houses to make a running water lavatory (certain compilations of
      regulations address the issue as well as some archaeological evidence).
      At least one house has been identified as most probably an embassy
      from the mainland by the contents of the cesspit, which include a large
      variety of parasite eggs not found in surrounding areas, probably
      deposited by people who had been eating and living on the mainland.
      Toilets are called 'Kawaya', which seems very similar to 'River
      House' (may be completely coincidental--need to definitely research this
      more thoroughly)
      Chamber pots are in use by the Heian period (toilet boxes?)
      In the Kamakura era, night soil is being used to fertilize fields
      (there is debate whether it was used prior to that).
      Certain remnants of toilet systems can be seen in the ruins of
      Japanese castles (I recall one in Himeji-jo [which is also post period])
      Scatalogical games appear to be played in either the Heian or
      Kamakura era by lower ranking servants.
      Chugi appears to be the name of a Japanese ablution instrument (a
      flat piece of wood).

      So, I'm still building up information. Any good books, pictures, etc. out
      there that people can point out would be horribly useful. I'm thinking it
      would be neat to do scale models of various facilities--or at least what
      we think such facilities might have appeared to be. I'm still looking for
      info on what a Heian outhouse looked like--I've seen a suggestion of what
      it might have been like during the Nara period, and apparently relieving
      one's self just off the side of the road against a wall was not all that
      uncommon in certain cultures.

      As a side note I'm also interested in finding out how clothing was
      designed to facilitate such action and if it has anything to do with the
      type of facility used. Apparently in many cultures they teach those who
      have to wear fancy clothing to be more restrained than others, etc.

      So, any good sources (China, India, Europe, etc.)? I'd love to see what I
      could come up with.

      -Ii
    • Solveig
      Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solvieg! I have a book by the title of Benjo no Hanashi or something similar. It is in another room. It is in a series on
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 21, 2003
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        Noble Cousin!

        Greetings from Solvieg! I have a book by the title of Benjo no Hanashi
        or something similar. It is in another room. It is in a series on
        arhitectural elemetns.
        --

        Your Humble Servant
        Solveig Throndardottir
        Amateur Scholar

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