Were you impressed at how gorgeous the new Tangren outfits for its upcoming Three Kingdoms drama. Yours truly happen to be currently in a Chu dynasty phase and immediately recognized them as strangely anachronistic. In fact, half of the patterns for their character posters came directly from the same tomb, the famous No. 1 Chu Tomb of Jiangling Mashan 江陵马山一号楚墓, dated about five centuries before the story’s time.
So, in honor of our beloved Tangren that seems to try each time to be slightly more historically accurate (albeit via the laziest way possible), here’s a look at some of the patterns of Chu.
The Kingdom of Chu is known for their vibrant imagination and beautiful artistry. Legend has it the people of Chu are the descendants of Zhurong, the god of the sun, fire, and the phoenix. Because they assimilated with the locals after moving South, they practiced Shamanism, leading the central plains states to consider them as “savages”. After repeat snubs from the central states, the leaders of Chu eventually famously stated, “We are savages, we don’t need the central states to give us a title.” So they just declared themselves kings of the land and began to take over neighboring kingdoms with complete disregard for the acceptable methods of war at the time (no sneak attacks, no attacking without provocation, etc.). Eventually, they became powerful enough to take on the customs of the Central Plains and started taking on the world police role.
The Chu Kingdom was eventually taken over by the famous first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. However, the Chu people continued resistance throughout his reign, and heavy Chu influences were founded even in later Han dynasty artifacts. The Chu left us with some of the best bronze, clothes, and pottery from the Bronze Age, not to mention the famous Chu songs and by the likes of Qu Yuan.
One other thing about Chu outfits – they were much more fond of color than those dull Confucians. If you’re interested, the blog here has photos of the museum’s replicas of the four outfits were these patterns are from here.
Based on the leaked photos, I believe there are at least two more outfits that look like they used patterns out of this tomb. Below are some more patterns from the Chu tomb, let us know if you spot one of them on an outfit!
sources: Eight Hundred Years of Chu, 江陵马山一号楚墓 by Jinzhou Museum (1985).
thank you for always updating!! <3 I find that the female outfit looks like Liu shishi's sound of desert outfit at first glance !
Thank you thank you. I was really hoping you’d do a post on this drama and you’ve exceeded my expectations with these details. Thanks again!!
Thank you for your fascinating post. Is this Jiangling Mashan in Hubei? Hubei provincial museum has some of these items? I haven’t had the time to watch the documentary yet.
I did visit some provincial capital museums in Shanxi, Shaanxi, etc. Their extensive bronze collection from Shang dynasty was outstanding. But I’ve never visited Hubei area.
Most of them are located in the Jingzhou Museum in Hubei. Their collection: http://jzmsm.org/cp/sizp/
I have a huge list of museums I want to visit in China, and I’m jealous you got to visit the Shanxi and Shaanxi ones. My top city-level museums I want to go to are the Jinsha (for the sunbird and the mask) , Turpan (mummies), and Jingzhou museums.
Thank you!! I wish you live in-town so I can bug you all day to talk about C museums. :-D There are gazillion great C museums. I really enjoyed visiting Shaanxi’s Yonglegong murals, Shanxi’s Wutaishan temples too. I had to skip Zhengzhou museum even though I visited Kaifeng & Luoyang and flew via Zhengzhou. One needs to hire a driver or spend a lifetime taking buses to see these things.Several Xi An cab drivers I encountered were really mean and rude though. The most unpleasant aspect of it all. Xi An also has atrocious traffic and air. A lot of the C museum artifacts are a lot older than statues/temples in Kyoto, which has a much wider international reputation. I like Tang and post-Tang arts a lot, but also fascinated by pre-Qin bronzes (tons of these in the Taiyuan museum), jade, ceramic, etc. I think you need to group your museums by area and see which provinces/areas have the highest concentration of them and start from there? Do you know which museum has this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Fu_Hao
I think the Fu Hao stuff are split between the National Museum and the Henan museum。
I love pre-Qin bronzes. The best thing about pre-Qin bronzes is that they’re rare enough that most of them were discovered after 1949, so a lot of local museums have great collections (as opposed to Ming/Qing stuff that are often abroad or taken to Taiwan by the Nationalists ). And because China wasn’t unified back then, each collection is unique.
If you like bronzes, I recommend the Poly Museum in Beijing. It’s really small and rarely visited ,but well curated. Plus, they have four of the zodiac heads from the Summer Palace.
Xi’an is the city I want to visit the most in all of China, not only for their museums but also the food and Hua’shan. I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience with the drivers. Hopefully with Uber they’ll be nicer. ;b
That face low-key looks like Cruella de Vil
I see the face too.
You are not alone.