I deleted my old tumblr because... man idk why it was covid-times and the prefrontal cortex was not in the room with us!! Anyways, I was reminded by my lovely friend @repecca that tumblr exists, and that some of my work has been going around on here, so I decided to post some of my work up officially!
Starting off with my most notable (?) work to date, here's my LOTR: The Middle Kingdom Project.
Now, it's been over a year since I posted this, and at the time I was... really searchingfor myself artistically, and I decided to go all in on something that I'd been ruminating on for a long time.
So, hello, again. I'm Leia. I do visual development/BG design, and I'm also a writer of things. I love fantasy and transformative work. It's nice to meet you.
Since there's quite a lot of interest in Chinese-inspired cyberpunk and adjacent aesthetics, just wanted to share these neat "Chinese style meets the Matrix"-esque looks from popular brand 大青龙肆/Da Qing Long Si. There's also an English website here.
culture tips for writing asian settings: calligraphy (pt ii)
in my last post i talked about calligraphy more generally, but here i want to talk about the calligraphy from atla. all of the calligraphy from the show is written by dr siu-leung lee and i'll be using the artbook as my reference.
if you're a writer or artist approaching written chinese, you can think about how script and handwriting might tell us something about a character. dr lee certainly did, and he even tailored writing styles to who he thought might've been writing that text: "If it were a highly cultured royal attendant, he would use a refined, elegant style, but if it were a low-level clerk, he would use a more pedestrian handwriting style."
first thing: modern standard chinese coming out of mainland china uses simplified chinese. this system was developed in the mid-20th century, so it's pretty anachronistic to use this for atla. instead, you should be using traditional chinese as dr lee does (which is still used in hong kong, taiwan, and many diasporic communities). i usually use google translate to switch between the systems.
note the use of simplified 门 (door) instead of the traditional 門 from the aang's unfreezing day comic.
next i'm going to take aang's wanted poster as an example of three different chinese scripts we see in the show. the "title" is in clerical script, the body of the text is in regular script, and the seal is in seal script.
regular script is the standard way you'd learn how to write chinese nowadays. you can see (as i mentioned in part i) how the text is meant to be read up -> down, then right -> left.
clerical script is characterised by fairly compact shapes and a kind of "roundness", and was developed in the late warring states period. this is the script used for the chinese title of the show! in the context of atla, it implies to me that the writer has more specialised calligraphic training than the average person (who, if they can write, would be using regular script). you can compare the difference in styles for the same words between clerical (L) and regular (R):
seal script is the most archaic form of chinese on display; this one wouldn't have been written by the calligrapher, but carved into a seal by a craftsperson and then stamped onto the page.
what's also really interesting is dr lee implies a difference in script between the nations. some of the characters used to write water tribe-related concepts:
this is an adapted form of oracle bone script, the one of the earliest forms of chinese writing. this fascinated me because this script was—as the name suggests—written on bone, and perhaps reflects something about the material of what the water tribes were using to write. (you can input modern characters into this website to see examples of their older forms.)
finally, some cool differences in handwriting! this is from the fire day festival poster:
this uses regular script, but in contrast to the excerpt we saw before, the formation of the characters is more haphazard (excitable?). it's also written left -> right! this suggests to us the writer is a commoner, as opposed to a royal scribe.
these are some things you can keep in mind when you're writing or drawing in this universe—while you're probably writing in english, the characters would be steeped in the writing systems we've been talking about. if a character's sending a letter, what might the recipient notice about the handwriting? what does it tell them about their social status or education? could the shape of the letters signal something about where they come from, i.e. water tribe characters write a more curvy script?
Fishskin Robes of the Ethnic Tungusic People of China and Russia
Oroch woman’s festive robe made of fish skin, leather, and decorative fur trimmings [image source].
Nivkh woman’s fish-skin festival coats (hukht), late 19th century. Cloth: fish skin, sinew (reindeer), cotton thread; appliqué and embroidery. Promised gift of Thomas Murray L2019.66.2, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota, United States [image source].
Back view of a Nivkh woman’s robe [image source].
Front view of a Nivkh woman’s robe [image source].
Women’s clothing, collected from a Nivkh community in 1871, now in the National Museum of Denmark. Photo by Roberto Fortuna, courtesy Wikimedia Commons [image source].
The Hezhe people 赫哲族 (also known as Nanai 那乃) are one of the smallest recognized minority groups in China composed of around five thousand members. Most live in the Amur Basin, more specifically, around the Heilong 黑龙, Songhua 松花, and Wusuli 乌苏里 rivers. Their wet environment and diet, composed of almost exclusively fish, led them to develop impermeable clothing made out of fish skin. Since they are part of the Tungusic family, their clothing bears resemblance to that of other Tungusic people, including the Jurchen and Manchu.
They were nearly wiped out during the Imperial Japanese invasion of China but, slowly, their numbers have begun to recover. Due to mixing with other ethnic groups who introduced the Hezhen to cloth, the tradition of fish skin clothing is endangered but there are attempts of preserving this heritage.
Hezhen woman stitching together fish skins [image source].
Top to bottom left: You Wenfeng, 68, an ethnic Hezhen woman, poses with her fishskin clothes at her studio in Tongjiang, Heilongjiang province, China December 31, 2019. Picture taken December 31, 2019 by Aly Song for Reuters [image source].
Hezhen woman showcasing her fishskin outfit [image source].
Hezhen fish skin jacket and pants, Hielongiang, China, mid 20th century. In the latter part of the 20th century only one or two families could still produce clothing like this made of joined pieces of fish skin, which makes even the later pieces extremely rare [image source].
Detail view of the stitching and material of a Hezhen fishskin jacket in the shape of a 大襟衣 dajinyi or dajin, contemporary. Ethnic Costume Museum of Beijing, China [image source].
Hezhen fishskin boots, contemporary. Ethnic Costume Museum of Beijing, China [image source].
Although Hezhen clothing is characterized by its practicality and ease of movement, it does not mean it’s devoid of complexity. Below are two examples of ornate female Hezhen fishskin robes. Although they may look like leather or cloth at first sight, they’re fully made of different fish skins stitched together. It shows an impressive technical command of the medium.
Image containing a set of Hezhen clothes including a woman’s fishskin robe [image source].
The Nivkh people of China and Russia also make clothing out of fish skin. Like the Hezhen, they also live in the Amur Basin but they are more concentrated on and nearby to Sakhalin Island in East Siberia.
Top to bottom left: Woman’s fish-skin festival coat (hukht) with detail views. Unknown Nivkh makers, late 19th century. Cloth: fish skin, sinew (reindeer), cotton thread; appliqué and embroidery. The John R. Van Derlip Fund and the Mary Griggs Burke Endowment Fund; purchase from the Thomas Murray Collection 2019.20.31 [image source].
Top to bottom right: detail view of the lower hem of the robe to the left after cleaning [image source].
The Sun and Moon Pagodas in Guilin, China (photo by Nathan Ackley)
Sun & Moon Twin Pagodas are one of the greatest attractions in Guilin, situated in Shanhu (Shan Lake).
The word sun and moon in Chinese character written together meant brightness. They are also known as Gold and Silver Pagodas because of their colors at night. They stand next to each other reflecting the beauty of each other.
Originally built in Guilin's moat during the Tang dynasty, these tiered towers were reconstructed in 2001 and now they are a tourist site combining culture, art, religion, and architecture, technology, and natural landscape.
The "Sun" Pagoda is constructed with copper; it has 9 floors and reaches a height of 41 metres. The "Moon" Pagoda's construction is made of marble; it has 7 floors and measuring 35 meters high. The two pagodas are connected via a tunnel at the bottom of the lake.
From the Moon Pagoda to the Sun Pagoda, there is a 10-meter glass tunnel that links the two under water. When walking through the tunnel, one can see the fish above the head and on both sides.
If you want to describe your characters as autistic without explicitly saying they are autistic, you csn say they have the lonely disorder.
In China, the word for mild autism (higher functioning autism, level 1, low support needs, whatever you call it, you know what I mean) literally translated to "lonely disorder" which I love so much. So damn accurate 🥲🥲🥲🥲🥲 狐独症 gū dú zhèng
The word for a more severe autism is 自闭症 self enclosed disorder, zì bì zhèng. My autism is more mild so I can't speak as to whether I like that, as a translation.
[Hanfu · 漢服]Chinese Warring States period(475–221 BC) Chu (state) Hanfu Based On Chu (state) lacquer figure
【Historical Artifact Reference】:
Lacquered wood figurines unearthed from Chu State Tomb in Shayang Tumbun Chu Tombs/沙洋塌冢楚墓出土漆俑
Collar cloth and robe unearthed from china Mashan Chu Tomb N19
【Histoty Note】Warring States Period·Chu (state) Noble Women Fashion
Many people may wonder why this set of clothing and hairstyles are so similar to Japan, but the fact is this kind of clothing and hairstyle existed in China at least 1,000 years earlier than Japan.
During the China Warring States Period, it was popular for aristocratic men and women to wear robes.
Lacquered wood figurines and robe with similar images have been unearthed from the Shayang Tumbun Chu Tombs and the Chu Tombs at Mashan, many of which adopted the "three-dimensional structure" technique.
For example, a roughly rectangular piece is caulked at the intersection of the robe's sides, skirt sides and sleeve armpits. At the same time, the lower edge line of the top and the upper edge line of the lower skirt are incrementally extended, and then sewn into one body. It is called "Ming three-dimensional structure".
Its ingenuity is that while the outer contour of the garment remains unchanged, it effectively expands the inner space of the garment body, making it convenient for people to wrap the garment from the front to the back when wearing it, without damaging the original collar and garment forms.
The attire of aristocratic women from the Chu state in this set was restored based on the lacquered wooden figurines of the Chu tomb in Shayang. Their foreheads and temples hair are fluffy, and they have a hanging bun at the back of their heads. They wear robes that are connected up and down, and are decorated with brocade inlays at the seams.
The wearing method is the "layering method", two robes are stacked together in advance and then worn as a whole. This allows the collar edge of the lining to be show parallel to the collar edge of the outer garment, and a section of the lining to be show behind the lapel.The brocade edge is decorated with a wide belt and fixed with double belt hooks.
This "layered" wearing method shows the layers and details of Chu people's clothing, and can also show the graceful beauty of the body.
In addition, many creative clothing styles and fabric patterns emerged during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, bringing with them the unique atmosphere, mysterious imagination and ultimate romance of that era, becoming our inexhaustible source of art.
Recreation Work by : @裝束复原
How Taoist Charms Work: Conceptual Basis Of Talisman Making
How and why do talismans work? Inscriptions are symbolic embodiments of archetypal forces, representatives of invoked deities, or references to sacred entities (for example, Taoist mountains, constellations, etc.). The Word is supposed to collect and project their power. The signs of the talismanic inscription are organized as a scheme of its deployment. The methods of launching or wearing the…