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The Evolution of Masks And Protective Clothing


During the peak of the epidemic in our country, countless charitable acts of donating masks and protective clothing have appeared in the society, and international friends have continued to donate these materials. Of course, there are also those who make money on the pretext that they raise prices, or sell counterfeit goods. In addition, in many countries, there are still cases of refusing to wear masks due to cultural differences. In the special period of the epidemic, a variety of human feelings are staged one by one, which are Thought provoking.

Masks and Daily

Masks and protective clothing are both powerful tools to fight the epidemic. Not only that, they also inspired a lot of fresh "art events." Some We Chat emoji packs have been "installed" with masks, such as "egg yolk cat", making it appear more naive and charming; some netizens created“mask pancakes” at home. The image of doctors in snow-white protective battle suit has also become a new theme in many artworks. These "works" convey optimistic messages for all of us。

Art shows a new look due to masks and protective clothing. The history behind these two "weapons" is also tortuous. Let’s start with masks and describe a little bit more briefly.  

In the Yuan Dynasty, there were people in the palace who used silk towels to cover their noses and noses to ensure that food was not stained. This was a kind of "mask-like object". But if you study it, this kind of silk scarf are the "face-clothes" that have appeared in the pre-Qin era.

In the "Book of Rites", it is stated that women must cover their faces when they go out, both in accordance with etiquette and to keep out the wind and soil. The thing that women cover up is called a "face coat". It not only covers the face, but also can be wrapped around the whole body, which is quite practical.

The descendants of the later generations, drapes and caps are all extensions of the face coat. They are not only satisfied with covering the face, but also deepen the effectiveness of protecting the whole body. All these costumes, which have been popular in China for a long time, all imply a Western temperament.

The appearance of "masks" abroad can be traced back to ancient Persian countries. Readers familiar with Jin Yong's martial arts novel "The Dragon Slayer" will not be strange. The Zoroastrian religion, which has deep roots in the Ming religion, used to wear a cloth covering during ceremonies, which is related to their idea of cleanliness.

Masks and Medicine

From the 1st century to the 16th century, many overseas countries have produced inventions similar to masks, which are dust-proof and harmful gas-proof.

In the Middle Ages, on the European continent where the Black Death spread, a beak-shaped mask filled with plant spices was born. Doctors use it to fight against malaria. Although it has a strange appearance, it has multiple meanings behind - deterrence of the virus and kindness to the patient.

In modern times, the mask is in its infancy and becoming more scientific. It went through this evolution roughly: to block out industrial dust, people made metal masks that felt like gas masks.

Later, the German medical scientist Mikuriz Ledchi, finally created a light and soft medical anti-spray mask after experimental research and development. In 1897, Dr. Hubner, a German doctor, improved the structure of the mask to make it more comfortable for the skin. Because of the small wire frame installed in the double gauze, the shape is more three-dimensional and regular. In 1899, Paul Bertie, a French physician, produced a mask with six layers of cloth, which was more convenient to tie.

Not only have overseas medical scientists researched various masks,  in modern China there are also pioneers in creating white masks. In 1910, the young talented doctor Dr. Wu Liande designed the "Wu mask" composed of double gauze to prevent and control the plague in the northeast region. It is famous in the history of medicine for its low price, high quality, convenience and safety.

In the brief history of the development of the mask, one can observe the fragments of human health awareness and social order changes. The mask reflects a deeper value beyond its practical function. The protective clothing, as the "armor" worn by medical personnel, also has a unique historical change behind it. It was a change full of design creativity, which caused waves on the European continent once.

The birth of protective clothing

In the 17th century, during the outbreak of major epidemics in Europe, doctors wore a protective suit designed to block germ toxins. Compared with the current medical protective clothing, which is easy to put on and take off with fine manufacturing materials, it looks much stranger. It also has a mysterious aura, like the mysterious aura of early ancient times.

 At that time, medical protective clothing, also known as bird's-beak clothing, was used in Europe. It was eveloped by Charles de Lomme from France, the royal physician of Louis XIII. Inspired by the soldier's armor "armed to the teeth", he designed a fanciful costume from head to toe. This set of equipment includes a long coat made of leather or wax canvas, which looks like a monk's robe; there are thick gloves, boots, leather pants, and the doctor's wrist and ankle will be firmly tied. In addition, they are equipped with a wide-brimmed hat, so that they can keep a distance from the patient's face; finally, they will hold a special wooden stick, which is used to check the patient's condition, instead of close physical contacts.

However, the most conspicuous of this equipment is a bird-shaped peculiar mask. It looks like a gas mask with the greatest learning. First of all, the mask's red glass glasses, equivalent to the current goggles, can isolate the patient's breathing gas and saliva droplets. The curved "bird's beak" contains bandage, it was supported by bandage and the doctor's nose. In addition, it acts as a "respirator". There are two small holes in it, which can accommodate a variety of herbs, such as dried roses, camphor, myrrh, Su Hexiang, etc. The purpose is to filter the decaying air through the blight environment. Of course, they also have some purposes like antiviral and odor elimination. This bizarre mask can be seen as the ancestor of the medical mask, or the gas mask.

At first glance, the image of the doctors in such a drape is a little shocking. In fact, this suit did not play a strong role in the prevention and treatment of epidemics at that time. But the humanity and love, and the idea of research and development in it, made it memorable.

Compared with the bizarre European protective clothing, today's protective suits for health care workers are sophisticated and seamless, and their effectiveness in blocking viral infections is even more pronounced. But the medical staff obviously have to bear the pressure of body and mind when wearing it.

Masks and protective clothing, two kinds of soft but tough weapons, they help the doctors and protect the patients in the long history. With the concerted efforts of everyone, this epidemic will pass as soon as possible, and all human beings can return to normal life. The spiritual impact of this ordeal is a reverse increase. May it be transformed into an invisible force of perseverance, erudition, humility and reverence for nature. Therefore, the earth we live in can continuously release a warm light in a positive cycle.

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