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October 21, 2012
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Tang Dynasty Mulan by suburbanbeatnik Tang Dynasty Mulan by suburbanbeatnik
So here's Mulan, my next Disney heroine in my 'historically accurate Disney heroine' series. (The others can be seen here). I decided to go in a different direction for this-- instead of re-imagining one of the movie costumes in a more historical context, I re-imagined the costume completely. My somewhat selfish reason is that I find the generic 'ancient-y' han-fu in the movie to be pretty boring, especially when the actual history of Chinese costume is fascinating, varied and incredibly rich.

This particular costume is called a 'large-sleeved gown,' and it is a famous style from the Tang dynasty period, which is arguably the first period in human history to feature actual honest-to-God low-cut gowns. The famous painting by Zhou Fang-- "Beauties with Flowery Hairpins", from the late 8th century AD-- features this style. (This style is also the basis of the amazing costumes in Curse of the Golden Flower, which I watched for inspiration.) The story of Mulan is usually set during the Sui or Tang period-- there is a decent run-down of the variants of the legend here-- so I felt that putting it in this period was not unsuitable (especially since the movie itself is so generic, and pretty much impossible to date). I was inspired by the color scheme in the final dress she wore in the movie-- but put more of an emphasis on the crimson and turquoise, since that color scheme would be more indicative of a mature, confident woman. She holds her father's sword, and the emperor's seal hangs around her wrist (one wouldn't want to ruin the lines of the gown, after all).

If you're interested in Chinese costume history, then I highly recommend Gao Chunming's seminal book, 5000 Years of Chinese Costume, which I used for research. It's kind of expensive, but you can probably get it from the library.
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:iconbarbiegirldolls100:
BarbieGirlDolls100 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
Just want you to know that this is a wonderful drawing. However Curse of the golden flower isn't a very reliable source. Especially the neckline. Chinese is a very conservative culture. The dress of the tang dynasty may have had the lowest neckline in Chinese dress, but no women during that time would dare show cleavage. Notice in the painting beauties with flowery hairpins the artist doesnt even draw cleavage, that's because the ladies arent showing any. Curse of the golden flower is a more modern take on the ancient dress so it is actually a very innaccurate representation of the tang dynasty dress. (ps I am Chinese)
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:iconorangehotaru:
OrangeHotaru Featured By Owner May 16, 2014
Having the seal around her wrist makes sense since it's reminiscent of the scene where she climbs up the pole.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yup! :)
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:iconartgyrl:
artgyrl Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow. I love this so much. The details in the dress are gorgeous.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconpurpletatsu:
PurpleTatsu Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
It's so pretty it causes me physical pain urgh.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you... I think? ;)
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:iconpsychotic-pink:
Psychotic-Pink Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think they stated that they intended this movie to be set during the Tang dynasty as well.  *watches extra features*  Mainly because they thought the dress styles were the most interesting.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That's pretty cool! And it's hard to beat Tang Dynasty costuming-- the clothes were so gorgeous.
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:icontheyoungguardian:
TheYoungGuardian Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014
Thank you for the picture/information, I really want to make a writing site/blog on Ancient China/Chinese history<33
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You should! It's all fascinating stuff. :)
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:iconbabyvfan:
babyvfan Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
love the blue shades
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconshisleya:
shisleya Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist
Oh my she's awesome. I love her realistic face, and the details of the dress are amazing...I really ancient China fashion, it's so various according to the dinasties!
Plus your way of coloring is superb, so tridimensional...may I ask which traditional media did you mix? :love:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I used acrylics. :)
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:iconisabelarazo:
IsabelaRazo Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is lovely~
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:icontspeecestudios:
tspeecestudios Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
I came for the beautiful hair pin and stayed for the history lesson. You absolutely rock for sharing the thought process behind this!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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:icontspeecestudios:
tspeecestudios Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
You're welcome :)
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:iconavadaxxxkedavra:
avadaxxxkedavra Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012
wow this is so gorgeous
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconmagnolia-rabbit:
magnolia-rabbit Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I love this series, this one in particular! Your colours are positively fabulous. Thanks so much for the links as well. :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
No problem. I'm so glad you like them! They'll be available as prints soon, hopefully in time for Christmas shopping.
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:iconjaney-jane:
janey-jane Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
awww yesssss. Put a bunch of crap all up in a woman's hairstyle and i am going to LOVE it. This has reminded me that my knowledge of Chinese costume history is shamefully threadbare (heh). That book is going on the Amazon wishlist right now. I love that even in her pretty pretty flowy dress she still has that BAMF expression on her face. ♥.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yay! I'm so glad you like it. After all, you are the costume queen! :hug:
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:iconhaius:
haius Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Hobbyist
That hairstyle, man. That could break a woman's neck. :XD:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I really wonder how they did it. I bet they probably built it around pads the way they did in the 1700s in Europe just to keep it light.
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:iconstarcru:
starcru Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012
nice.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconramsay-bolton:
Ramsay-Bolton Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Really beautiful!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconnickelynn:
Nickelynn Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Wow, I love this!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconelphieofkiamoko:
elphieofkiamoko Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
owo This is lovely!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :D
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:iconflorriequeenofkook:
FlorrieQueenOfKook Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012
Amazing
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconweavingmaiden:
WeavingMaiden Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012
Beautiful
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!!
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:iconfusilies:
FusiLies Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012
so beautiful...:love:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012
Sugoi~!:love:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014
You're welcome!
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:iconcourtneytrowbridge:
CourtneyTrowbridge Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012   Digital Artist
Ooh she came out beautiful! I love her face!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much! I'm glad you like her. :D
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:iconseekhim:
SeekHim Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012
Stunning. I love your series!

GOD bless
John 3:16
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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:iconyeahgirl11:
yeahgirl11 Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
She's beautiful. :) I agree, the han-fu in the movie was pretty boring. Out of all the types of clothes they could've drawn on her, they chose that? :XD: Your design is cooler. Imagine trying to walk around with all that cloth, haha.
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