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 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).