The history of grillz goes back further than you think. Much further


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/07/the-history-of-grillz-goes-bac.html


#2

3,000 year old fashion trend brought to screeching halt by stupid superhero movie


#3

The history of grillz goes back further than you think. Much further.


#4

OG grills


#5


#6

This doesn’t surprise me. I feel like I’ve seen photos of grills or at least teeth filled with gold and precious stones in pre-Columbian American societies. But mostly I think about one of my grandpa’s old war stories.

In WW2, he was stationed in the Pacific, pulling duty on the supply chain. His unit occupied a corner of a small island, the natives of this island had had seemingly no outside contact of any kind and were still a tribal society. (They resisted the occupation the only way they could, sneaking into the barracks as the unit slept and silently knifing them to death, but that’s another story.)

By day, there was some opportunity to explore and Papa and his fellows came upon what we would call a catacomb; a cave with the tribe’s human remains preserved, in some cases with much grandeur. One skull included not a mere grill but, by his description, full denture plates–top and bottom–made of solid gold. Heavy as lead, he said.

Papa swiped them. Now, ethically this is repulsive (not to mention from a scholastic standpoint.) But his perspective was not an archaeologist’s. He lived through the depression as a teen, had a wife and baby back home, had no desire to be stationed on this island, nor be in the war at all, and he wasn’t sleeping nights due to fear of getting stabbed by the people to whom this artifact belonged. He was in a shitty situation and in the moment made a shitty decision. In truth, I don’t think it bothered him, though. He was the John Wayne type, with that kind of regard towards the natives, I’m sure. It ended up being moot. Someone later rolled his footlocker and stole them from him, anyway.

Presumably these grills may have ended up in the US, hopefully pawned for their gold value and then sold to the antiquities market and eventually to a museum or academic collection (My assumption is that after the war, there wouldn’t be an intact culture to repatriate them to.) Or maybe they got melted down in Manila and ended up as an ashtray for Ferdinand Marcos (or as his fillings–ha!) or merely became part of some boring, tungsten-cut ingot in a bank somewhere.

I wish I knew more about the people that made them, what the grills looked like, the cave, etc. Papa’s story is somewhat more detailed, but he himself didn’t know a lot.


#7


#8

…meet the Incas who wore sundials around their necks.


#9

*cough *


#10

With the setting and the themes, this could have been part of Cryptonomicon. (If you remember, a lot of it took place in the WW2 Pacific, and some amount of gold was involved.)


#11

Waaaaay back…

2000bc


#12

Dave Brockie RIP

GWAR Grillz


#13

can’t remember something I’ve never heard of. maybe I oughta read it, though.


#14

It is a great fun read. Typically for a Neal Stephenson it contains enough plot and interesting ideas for a dozen other authors’ books.


#15

Yeah, apparently, they go all the way back to a nice comfy hotel each evening.


#16

Wearing grillz for any length of time usually means you’re wearing denturez next.
Source: I am dentizt.


#17

once again Jojo proves to be 1,000 % historically accurate


#18

Oh, that’ll work well.


#19

I’m sure the next new thing will be trepanning


#20

or foot powered street dentistry