Author Topic: Empress Catherine II  (Read 96779 times)

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Offline Macedonsky

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2005, 06:06:39 AM »

Offline Alexandra

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #46 on: May 04, 2005, 09:43:12 PM »
Someone actually gave her a hairpiece made of real silver hair. To me, it looks like a ravelled steel wool pad, but the ringlets aren't bad!

Stanislaus Poniatowski calls her hair black; her own mother saw it as light brown; the portraiture suggests a kind of chestnut or auburn. Despite the mode for powdering, the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, her predecessor but one, got the notion to dye her own light hair black. She believed this black hair was the height of fashion in the French court. The story is told that she then couldn't get the dye and powder out, shaved her head, and ordered her ladies to do likewise. Caterine was exempted from the decree, since her hair fell out quite a few times when young (illness and fever do that) and was just growing in nicely.

Offline TJ Jones

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #47 on: May 05, 2005, 11:27:51 AM »
I read somewhere that she was not beautiful but, her light hair contrasted her very thick and dark brows and made her look very interesting. I forget the source of this information.
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Offline ilyala

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2005, 09:19:14 AM »
didn't catherine also give birth to an orlov child?  :-/
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Offline hikaru

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2005, 11:59:40 AM »
It was a son. His name was Count Bobrinsky.
Now his wonderful two grand , grand ........sons are going to be diplomats.

Offline ilyala

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2005, 12:00:53 PM »
who are those?  ???
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Offline grandduchess_42

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2005, 06:25:42 AM »
yeah i heard that to. i wonder y she didn't like let it all down? :o
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #52 on: May 15, 2005, 01:39:37 PM »
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Despite the mode for powdering, the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, her predecessor but one, got the notion to dye her own light hair black. She believed this black hair was the height of fashion in the French court.


I read in Zoe Oldenbourg's biography of the young Catherine that the reason Elizaveta dyed her hair black was in order to match the Russian standard of beauty as described in Russian fairy tales: skin white as snow, hair dark as a raven's wing. This makes more sense to me than the idea that black hair was a French fashion - at a time when Frenchwomen powdered their hair to appear lighter. Blondes were always more fashionable in the West than brunettes.
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #53 on: May 15, 2005, 08:36:16 PM »
I had never heard of the desirability of white skin expressed in Russian fairy tales.  Was that the reason that Boyar women up until Peter I's time blackened their teeth?  The purpose of that custom has always eluded me.  (I tried it on my dog.  Didn't make her look any better.)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Tsarfan »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2005, 08:41:32 AM »
I didn't know boyars' wives blackened their teeth, how bizarre! (I hope your dog recovered from the experiment.) Do you know what they used?

There's a peasant expression in Russian, "krov' s molokom" to describe a beautiful complexion. Literally it means "blood with milk." It's only applied to women. This was probably the standard of beauty Elizaveta aspired to (in my previous post I think I mixed up "krov' s molokom" with Snow White!).
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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2005, 09:21:00 AM »
They actually did blacken their teeth, although I have no idea what they used.  Peter barred both the blackening of teeth and the wearing of beards among the residents of St. Petersburg as part of his westernization campaign.

Offline Michelle

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #56 on: June 10, 2005, 07:41:36 PM »
Does anyone have a picture of her?

Offline hikaru

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #57 on: June 10, 2005, 09:33:01 PM »
I know that Japanese blackened the teeth till the beginning of the 20th century but never heard about russian boyars (will check).
Always in Russia highly esteemed the teeth like pearls ( it means no black).
In Japan as well as in Asia women blackened the teeth when they married. It was the sign of the marriage.

Offline Tsarfan

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #58 on: June 10, 2005, 10:35:50 PM »
I cannot remember where I saw the reference to blackened teeth, hikaru, as it was some years ago.  I did a google search, and this was the closest I came:

"As part of the Mongol Golden Horde, Russia's political and social attitudes toward women changed.  By the time Moscow arose in the 14th century as successor to the Mongols, female royalty had fewer rights and opportunities than in ancient Kiev.  Women were now entirely excluded from all influence on government affairs.  Nor was there any royal romance or chivalry as in Western Europe.  The daughters of the ruler were locked up in a special section of the palace called the terem, or tower chamber.  There they sat, richly clothed and decorated, their teeth painted black according to the royal custom of the time . . . ."

No source was given for this information.

This indicates an oriental origin to the custom, in line with your comments about Japan.  And maybe the custom eventually spread from royal women to boyar women?

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #59 on: June 11, 2005, 09:34:57 AM »
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They actually did blacken their teeth, although I have no idea what they used.  Peter barred both the blackening of teeth and the wearing of beards among the residents of St. Petersburg as part of his westernization campaign.

  The notion of  "blackened teeth" may well have come to represent upper class values and a sign of sensuality.

  Or maybe it was a sign that such rich attractive women could afford to eat a lot of sugar? After all today the "attractive" women are generally considered the thin or fit women who can afford to work out  - while poorer people are heavier due to their diets rich in snack foods and heavy carbs...

Sorry to go off topic.
rs
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »