In the daily activities of the emperor, in addition to eating, resting, changing clothes, bathing, “washing the dragon hole” is a must-do. According to the Chronicle, this was the first thing emperors should do after waking up. So what is “washing the dragon hole”?
What is “washing the dragon hole”?
The Chinese people in feudal times believed that the emperor was the “son of heaven” or the son of heaven. Everything that belongs to the emperor is extremely noble. The ancients also compared the emperor to the legendary dragon. From here, we can understand that “dragon hole” refers to the mouth of the emperor. And “washing the dragon hole” is when the emperor rinses his mouth after waking up.
The process of “washing the dragon hole”
In the old days, toothpaste and toothbrush were not yet born. Therefore, people will use water to clean their oral cavity. Usually, people use water, salt water to gargle. The emperors used fine teas to accomplish this task.
Every morning, the eunuchs or palace maids had to get up early and go get spring water. Then, they boiled spring water, washed the utensils used to “wash the dragon’s hole” and began to make tea.
The tea needed to be brewed several times in order to fill the pot and bring it to the emperor’s palace. When the emperor woke up, the eunuchs and court ladies in charge of “washing the dragon’s hole” would bring tea into the room. They needed to offer the cup of tea for the emperor to take sips from and rinse his mouth. The meaning of these things was to ensure the dignity of the emperor, so that they could wholeheartedly focus on the affairs of the court.
It seemed that “washing the dragon’s hole” was a very simple thing, but why did the palace ladies have to compete with each other to do this?
Why do palace maids compete to “wash the dragon’s hole”?
There are two reasons to explain that the palace maids often had to compete, even bribe the manager just to serve the emperor for this job.
The first , the palace maidens want to make some profit. The tea that the emperor used to rinse his mouth was of the highest quality. This type of tea leaves, even if soaked through 2 times, will not be pale. After the emperor finished rinsing his mouth, the palace maid would bring the soaked tea leaves to dry. Because it is a genuine tea, even if it is soaked in water, the quality of the tea leaves will not be reduced. They can still make a decent amount of money if they sell it.
Monday The palace maiden wishes to change her life. The palace maids competed for the job of “washing the dragon’s hole” for the emperor because they wanted to be “seen by the king”. This was a job that required close contact with the emperor. If the palace maiden has an outstandingly beautiful appearance, the possibility of being favored by the emperor is very high. They can take this opportunity to “take a step forward”.
They can not only become concubines, have servants and servants, but their family members also easily enjoy wealth and glory. Although the probability of being favored by the emperor is not high, many palace ladies still find ways to get in to “wash the dragon hole” for him.