On the Fire Nation, Tibet and the genocides
The ATLA situation:
Sozin used the power of the comet to launch an attack and commit genocide on the Air Nomads.
Sozin attacked the Air Nomads for two reasons: 1. To get to the Avatar 2. To destroy the military advantage airbending provided i.e. air support would have been a big hindrance in his war against the rest of the world. The Air Nomads were destroyed due to their religious and strategic importance.
Now, in human history genocides are not particularly hard to find, so what links this one to the specific one in Tibet?
The Air Nomads - Buddhism parallel has been discussed in previews posts.
But how does the Tibet situation compare:
1. Religious significance and genocide:
Between 1959 and 1961 the PRC destroyed most of Tibet’s over 6000 monasteries, only eight remained in 1976. Communism sees religion as one of the major hindrances to the development of society and as a tool to keep people under control and the Theocracy in power. Which led to the removal/destruction/execution of the monasteries and the religious cast.
Further parallels: The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso was not formally enthroned until 17 November 1950, during the People’s Republic of China invasion of the kingdom. The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India where he has led a government in exile since.
2. Strategic advantage:
To sum it up: Taking into consideration that A:TLA is set in a sino-centric universe, the parallel between the Air Nomads and the Tibet situation is all but accidental, but seems to be an obvious comment on real world politics.
handsaretobuild asked: Something on the Kyoshi warriors and island would be good.
Repost Guest Staring yuumegari:
- Also note the tatami floors in that dojo.
- The makeup on the Kyoshi warriors begins with a white base and red, well-associated with maiko, geiko, and geisha culture in general.
- The fans and the fighting style resemble aikido (using force against the opponent), and there is a good chance that much of the forms that the warriors practice are tessenjutsu kata.
- The sea has elephant koi and an unagi, both of which are native in Japan’s seas (though I’m not too sure about the existence of elephant koi…).
- The village itself has buildings that resemble those in Shirakawa-Go and Gokayama villages. They are done in the “gassho-zukuri” style, or the “prayer-hands construction”…see the triangular roofs. (On a side note, these places are very famous to go to in the winter.)
- Lastly, Kyoshi island seems to be very picky about outsiders, so that leads me to assume that the place was very isolated for a time…if that doesn’t sound characteristic of Japan, well…
»> This is YUUMEGARI’s info! Not mine :D
Sources: Being a Japanese major, a poster that I saw in Sproul at UCD outside of a professor’s door, Jisho.org, and travel websites. And of course, A:TLA.
Zuko’s Ancestors: Remaining Portraits
-I will call them Fire Lord Left and Fire Lord Right, since they have no canon names-
Fire Lord Left > Fire Lord Right > Sozin > Azulon > Ozai > Zuko> Honoria
Fire Lord Left
He is blessing the world with fire, but not, if Sozin is to be believed, in Ozai’s way. Remember how Sozin claimed the Fire Nation was prosperous in/before his time, economically and culturally.
What is more interesting about that portrait are the flowers. I cannot decide if they are supposed to lotus or peonies.
As discussed many times before, lotus stands for enlightenment and that would fit well with what Sozin said. The bud of the flower could well be a lotus, but if you take a closer look at the leaves, they do not match. Lotuses have big, round, single leaves, the flower depicted does not, it’s leaves are small and branch off.
Which lead me to think it might well be a different auspicious flower: The peony.
When stylized the lotus bud and the peony bud can look rather similar, but when you compare the leaves, you will note that the ones of the peony look more similar to the ones shown on the portrait than the lotus leaves.
Now, what would it mean if said flowers were peonies:
The tree peony or mudan (牡丹) signifies the third month of the lunar calendar and symbolizes longevity, loyalty, happiness and eternal beauty.
Because of the way it sometimes grows as doubles, the peony appears to the Chinese like strings of cash coins and thus has come to symbolize prosperity and wealth.
For this reason, another name for the peony is fuguihua (富贵花) which means “flower of wealth and honor”.
Longevity, loyalty, happiness, honor and wealth. All of these do fit well with what we know from Sozin about the past.
Here comes the funny part, though. The peony also has a distinct meaning in fengshui.
(The peony is) One of the most sensual flowers with a delicious scent, the peony has long been used in feng shui as a cure for love & romance. This especially applies to a couple of pink peonies.The symbol of peony is often considered a metaphor for female beauty.
The flowers we see are in fact in couples, and pink. Which makes me wonder if the artist tried to imply that Fire Lord Left was very much in touch with his feminine side.
After all, it seems to run in the family, isn’t that so, Phoenix* King Ozai…
*Phoenixes are female, dragons are male
Fire Lord Right
The interesting thing about Fire Lord Right is how he is holding both, the flames of the Fire Nation and the Sun, Moon and Stars of the Watertribes.
The hand holding the Sun, Moon and Stars, is shown in the mudra of blessing, which implies a benevolent, close relationship with at least one of the Watertribes, this, in combination with the clouds is making me wonder if this implies a marriage.
Further, Fire Lord Right is standing on clouds:
Clouds, sometimes referred to as “auspicious clouds” (xiangyun 祥云), represent the heavens and also “good luck” because the Chinese word for cloud (yun 云) is pronounced the same as yun (运) meaning “luck” or “fortune”.
Its form often resembles the auspicious shape of the lingzhi “fungus of immortality”.
The cloud is a commonly seen design and when repeated in a pattern symbolizes never-ending fortune.
Five Things You Might Have Missed Watching A:TLA
The Earth King’s palace and The Fire Lord’s palace are the same place.
Check this out: The Fire Nation palace in the caldera and the Earth King’s palace in Ba Sing Se are both modeled after different parts of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Lake Laogai is real
Toph’s parents are traitors
Nevermind the part where they don’t give a shit about the Earthrumble people planning to sell the Avatar to the Fire Nation.
Just look at all the dragon themed decoration they have Toph never knew about >:)
And at just how welcome Aang is at their dinner table. Here’s a hint: Count the vegetable dishes.
The constellations match the star map.
This is an amazing bit of continuity. The night sky in the episode “The Waterbending Master” matches the star map Katara has in the episode “The Desert”. They even adjusted it for season change.
Sokka ‘fortune’ comes true.
When Sokka kicks a stone after leaving Aunt Wu’s house it bounces off a sign with the character for ‘luck’ on it and hits him in the head.
The Lion-turtle - Yu The Great - Magic Squares - Feng Shui
The pattern on the shell of the lion-turtle is not just any shape, but a magic square.
Magic squares are kinda cool: ”…a magic square is an arrangement of numbers (usually integers) in a square grid, where the numbers in each row, and in each column, and the numbers that run diagonally in both directions, all add up to the same number.” Link
The specific one this is referencing is the Lo Shu Square (see middle picture) which is used in Feng Shui (風水) i.e. the believe and practice of placing objects in relation to the flow of chi/qi (氣) ‘natural energy’.
That the lion-turtle shares a connection to the flow of chi is not surprising, considering that it teaches Aang how to energy bend.
Standing at the river’s edge, the Emperor Yu-Huang watched the mighty Huang-He (Yellow River) rush before him.
Emperor Yu enjoyed the river. Looking out to the opposite side of the river, Emperor Yu slowly allowed his gaze to drop until he was looking at the river’s edge right below his feet. It was at that moment that he saw the divine turtle.
Emperor Yu had seen the divine turtle before, but as a pattern in the stars, never this close. Every night, right before he went to bed, Emperor Yu would look out his bedroom window and see the turtle in the night sky. The emperor knew the Lo River story and believed that the turtle was a symbol of good luck. Just before he went to sleep the emperor would look at the turtle to ensure continued good luck. Now it was right before the emperor, swimming slowly at the river’s edge.
The emperor was familiar with the shape of the creature, but the detail of the shell that Emperor Yu now saw was new to him.
A turtle’s hard back is half of the tough house that protects its body from enemies. The roof of this house looks like puzzle pieces glued together to form two circles around a rectangle. Emperor Yu looked long at these shapes on the turtle’s back and noticed a pattern of dots etched on them.
Starting next to the turtle’s right leg was a square formed by four linked dots. Traveling around the shell as the hands of a clock travel, the emperor came next to nine dots in a row. At the five o’clock position of a clock face there were two dots. At the bottom or six o’clock position was a row of seven linked dots. Next came a rectangle etched by six dots, and then a solitary dot at the nine o’clock spot. A long rectangle of eight dots followed, and at the top was a short line of three dots. In the center of all these dots was the intersection of two lines sharing five dots.
What did this all mean, the emperor wondered. Was the divine turtle giving a signal?
As the river became dark, Emperor Yu lost sight of the turtle and started for home. Walking slowly, the emperor thought about the different numbers and their positions one to another.
Emperor Yu added up the numbers many different ways. What did the magic sum have to do with him? Was it years of good luck? Or was it years to live? The questions came easily, but the answers were nowhere to be found. Emperor Yu was troubled.
He had come to the river’s edge to seek tranquillity, and instead had found doubt. The divine turtle had visited, but instead of bringing good luck he had left uncertainty. What was the emperor to do?
Repost: Wherein Jin finds new sources while doing research for other stuff:
Bumi’s character seems to be based on Lü Bu
A General from The Three Kingdom era.
Throughout Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Lü Bu has been depicted as a ruthless and impulsive warrior who has no sense of loyalty and sympathy. It portrayed Lü Bu as an invincible warrior but an incapable leader who is further marred by character flaws.
The feathers on Bumi’s hat/crown are also present in Beijing or Cantonese opera.As the quote says: In Beijing Opera the feathers are attached General’s helmets for the purpose of expressing and underlining emotion.
Bumi’s crown: reference (#6) i called 双雉盔 and worn by the Three Kingdom hero Lu Bu in video games, movies and manga. I am not sure how valid a source that is XD and how much of that and the Beijing Opera costumes is chicken and egg.
The quote is from: Beijing Opera Costumes by Alexandra B. Bonds p44