Sinology Sunday: Chinese elements in Chen Man’s Rihanna photoshoot

Rihanna, fondly known in China as The Queen of Shandong, has once more collaborated with photographer Chen Man in yet another gorgeous photoshoot that represents the best of Chen Man.

Last time, their photoshoot was wildly loved by most but criticized by some for cultural appropriation even though it was work by a Chinese photographer for a Chinese magazine that was only using Rihanna as a model. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration since it’s also promoting her stuff, but it undoubtedly also work of Harper Bazaar China. Using traditional Chinese elements to create new looks is both one of Harper Bazaar China and Chen Man’s favorite themes (ex: Chen Man’s Chinese steampunk  ). These people are essentially saying Chen Man should only be able to photograph “Asians” or lose her signature style.

But I digress.  Even worse, this article from Bustle complains the photoshoot isn’t just problematic for being Chinese, but also for not being Chinese. The claim is that it’s too pan-Asian. Here’s a quote:

Rihanna’s hairstyle in this shoot, with blunt, slicked-down bangs and a bun, is reminiscent of a geisha’s traditional up-do. Although she’s not wearing a kimono, the image of Rihanna standing on a wooden foot bridge holding a paper umbrella further invites the comparison. There are also some shots where she is holding a fan.

While Chen Man does often have Japanese influences in her work, all of the elements used here can also be traced to China. I feel like most readers here will recognize the obvious elements used in the two photoshoots, but here’s an introduction to elements used in this photoshoot in case someone was searching about them and was misled. 

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Disney’s Live-action Mulan releases trailer

“You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.” – poster by Chen Man

Disney’s live-action Mulan released the first trailer, poster, and stills from the film today. The female costumes and make-up still look like bad 80’s movies, but OMG Liu Yifei is perfect!!!!! She’s so beautiful and so fierce in the trailer it made me tear up. I feel like the tone of the trailer was spot on in terms of what I was hoping for in a film about Mulan. What do you think?

The film stars Liu Yifei as the titular heroine and features Gong Li, Donnie Yen, Yoson An, Jet Li, and Cheng Pei-pei. It’s set for a worldwide release on March 27, 2020.

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Friday Photos

 Killing All the Crows in the World (The Killing of Three Thousand Crows) 三千鸦杀
Killing All the Crows in the World (The Killing of Three Thousand Crows) 三千鸦杀

Posters, stills, photoshoots, and random photos that caught my eye this week.

Actress Li Yuan plays Yuchang, a man posing as a woman, in The Longest Day in Chang’an

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Pixar Photoshoot with Mao Buyi, Nicholas Tse, He Jiong, Han Han

Mao Buyi X Miguel from Coco

Pixar gathered up four Chinese celebrities for a promotional shoot in time for Toy Story 3. There’s Coco X Mao Buyi, who sings the Chinese version of Remember Me from Coco; Ratatouille X Nicholas Tse, the actor who hosts a cooking show ; Cars X Han Han, the author-racecar driver ; Toy Story X He Jiong, the host whose connection to Toy Story is not known to the author.

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The Longest Day in Chang’an showcases Tang Dynasty aesthetics in new posters

Tang Dynasty counter-terrorism thriller The Longest Day in Chang’an 长安十二时辰 showcases the beauty of Tang Dynasty Chang’an in its latest set of promotional posters. Since its premiere, the series has been highly praised for its costumes, make-up, and sets and their attention to detail.
The series is available for members on AmazonViki , and will soon be on Youtube with English subs. 

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Tang Dynasty counter-terrorism thriller The Longest Day in Chang’an now available on Amazon, Viki

The Longest Day in Chang’an

Tang Dynasty counter-terrorism thriller The Longest Day in Chang’an 长安十二时辰, the other drama that aired without warning, is now available for members on Amazon, Viki , and will soon be on Youtube with English subs.

Starring Lei Jiayin, Yi Yangqianxi, Reyizha, Zhou Yiwei, and Lu Fangsheng, the series tells of the attempt of a young secret service leader who teams up with a retired cop to try and stop an imminent terrorist attack on Tang-dynasty Chang’an before time runs out.

Rocket Girls’ Zhang Zining sings the promo song with lyrics by poet Li Bai

The Untamed now available with English Subs on Youtube

Getting stuck in a cave together is always a sure way to spark up romantic flames.

The Untamed is now available with English Subs on Youtube here. The bromance series, which aired without much warning, also finally released some more promotional materials. There’s even a trailer! The two leads will also begin their promotional tour soon, including filming Happy Camp this week. I haven’t had the time to watch it yet, but it’s definitely gaining traction among the slash shipping fandom. How does it measure to your expectations?

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Air date update, July 2019

Nowadays dramas can be pulled 10 minutes before airing (ahem Novoland, although that’s probably more to do with the fact that it’s a period drama), so don’t get too excited about the shows with unconfirmed dates.

Shows that dropped with little notice: The Untamed, Love and Destiny, The Longest Day in Chang’an, Novoland: Eagle Flag

Cry Me A Sad River 流淌的美好时光 (悲伤逆流成河) – Jul 1

Starring: Zheng Shuang, Ma Tianyu
Details: 52 episodes, daily drama on Hunan TV
First loves break up and later reunite.

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