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China Scenic - - COVERS -

efore the ad­vent of the tooth­brush, how did an­cient Chi­nese go about clean­ing their teeth? Our cover photo of this is­sue pro­vides a clue—the oddly look­ing man is go­ing to clean his teeth with a wil­low twig, af­ter soft­ened it by chew­ing first. The photo comes from a fresco in Cave No. 164 of the renowned World Her­itage site Mo­gao Caves in Dun­huang, Gansu Province.

Con­sid­er­ing the con­struc­tion of Mo­gao Caves reached its peak dur­ing the Tang Dy­nasty (AD 618-907), we can pre­sume that the fresco is re­veal­ing how an­cient Chi­nese brush their teeth at least 1,000 to 1,500 years ago. In fact, from a dis­tant past, an­cient Chi­nese were aware of the sig­nif­i­cance of den­tal hy­giene, and thus they in­vented tools in­clud­ing chewed wil­low twigs, and crude “tooth­brushes” with han­dles made with bronze or an­i­mal bones, and horse­hair or bris­tles on their heads. Be­sides, var­i­ous nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als from salt, min­er­als to herbs were adopted as “tooth­paste” to en­hance the ef­fect of the clean­ing tools. And this is­sue will present the in­trigu­ing his­tory of the de­vel­op­ment of the ways an­cient Chi­nese brushed their teeth, along with the evolve­ment of di­verse tools they used.

The other cover op­tions are: No. 1: the jade dragon or­na­ment un­earthed in In­ner Mon­go­lia No. 2: the scales of a but­ter­fly’s wings un­der mi­cro­scope No. 3: a pair of great pur­ple em­peror but­ter­flies in their courtship flight No. 4 : a fresco of Dun­huang de­pict­ing a monk brush­ing his teeth No. 5: a dis­play of Bashu hi­ero­glyphic seals dis­cov­ered over the years No. 6: the 3D re­con­structed il­lus­tra­tion of the Fanghu Shengjing in the Old Sum­mer Place No. 7: the 3D re­con­structed il­lus­tra­tion of the Huifang Shuyuan in the Old Sum­mer Place No. 8: the Wu­luke Vol­cano of Ashkule Vol­canic Group No. 9: peo­ple of the Chang­bai Moun­tains dry­ing har­vested mush­rooms No. 10: the Wangx­i­ang­tai Wa­ter­fall in the Simian Moun­tain No. 11: the honey fun­gus grow­ing in the Chang­hai Moun­tains.

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