See, what I really like about the sword is the Taotie motif here on the handle.
Edit: One of my followers, @khancrackers, pointed out that the symbol on the sword is a yazi, which, according to Wiki, is a “hybrid of wolf and dragon, a creature likes to fight, is aggressive and is normally found on cross-guards on sword as ornaments.”
It’s probably not the Taotie. I was close, though!
Here’s an image that is more accurate:
Joss stick burners aren’t actually like that. Like I said, there’s supposed to be an altar, and more than one incense stick is burned. Like, no one is so stingy??
It should look more like this:
The animals one of Mulan’s ancestors is pointing to are part of the Chinese zodiac. From left to right, it’s the ox, rooster and rabbit.
Interesting that the monkey is referred to is the wisest.
The stone dragon pictured below takes on the posture of a Chinese stone lion.
Chinese stone lions normally look like this and usually come in pairs. The one on the left is the male one with a ball beneath its right paw and the one on the right is female, with her offspring beneath her paw.
In the West, they’re called Fu Dogs for some reason, and I made the mistake of calling them that a few times. Sorry.
I feel like Shan Yu takes after Genghis Khan, especially his clothes, which I suspect were very loosely based on Mongols, with the hood and all. I also get this vibe from the moustache.
Ok, this is Genghis’ son, Ogodei Khan, but the hat style is similar, I guess, even though Shan Yu is wearing a hoodie? Hoodies weren’t invented until the 1930s, and we started calling them that in the 90s.
The eagle/falcon also reminds me of Mongolian eagle hunters, like this 13-year-old.
Oh, wait. Shan Yu may be a bastardised pronunciation of Chan Yu, the title of rulers in the Central Asian region. It was definitely used during the Qin dynasty (221-206 BCE) and Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), as the Luandi clan of the Xiongnu called their leader that.
All in all, it’s just terrible to conflate nomadic races together like that. I’m looking forward to the day in which we strive for more accuracy, not less, in presenting other races and cultures.
My version doesn’t have subtitles, but in this frame, Chien Po is asking Yao to calm down with a meditative Buddhist chant, “Na mo amitabha”. In Chinese, it’s “na mo amituofo,” but hey mangled it to include something like “tofu.” Oh dear. I really wish that people would try and say Buddhist chants right as well. It’s not a joke. Oh well.
If the general leads a cavalry unit, then why is Shang leading a combat unit, as the later training montage would show? I don’t get it.
The composition for this shot is pretty nice, though.
According to this website, here is how the ancient Chinese military ranking system worked. The highest is the unit commander, and you know that Shang’s father is pretty up there since he’s the general. Shang himself is the Captain, and I’m wondering why he wasn’t Lieutenant or Lieutenant General. The movie makers probably simplified the hierarchy to simplify shit.
Shang is using the Bo staff, or a 棒 (bàng):
You can watch a YouTube Tutorial here:
Guess who also uses a 棒:
That’s right! It’s the Monkey King and his 如意金箍棒 (Ruyi Jingu Bang)! This was illustrated by @shelzie and can be found here.
Extra tidbit time:
The Shaolin monks actually had a say in founding the Tang dynasty, so I guess it was pretty spot on of the movie’s creators to include some Shaolin-esque type kungfu in the movie.
Anyway, here’s the extra info.
This excerpt was from: The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts by Meir Shahar.
Are these guys supposed to be infantry or cavalry? I don’t get it? Why are they using the bow after using the staff?
Anyway, here are the different types of bows that could be found in the Ming dynasty.
I am guessing that the bows used resemble the most from the second one from the left, which is called the big-siyah bow (大弰弓) according to Wikipedia. I know we’re basing the commentary on the Tang dynasty because the Ballad of Mulan first appeared in the Tang dynasty, but I was only able to find this.
Chinese people were actually credited with making the world’s first flaming arrows, cause, y’know, they invented gunpowder in mid-century 1 AD.
Poor Yao. Flaming arrows were first used in the Southern Wu Kingdom in 904, to invade this place called Yuzhang which was wayyy after the Tang dynasty. Yuzhang is the capital of today’s Jiangxi province.
This does exist in present day, where Shaolin monks train their bodies to withstand the force of these objects, or to harness their chi. There are many martial arts techniques from various types of Asian martial arts as well, like Taekwondo and Karate. You can read more about it here.
Chen Yi-Chang also designed the cannons (you can watch a video about it here, just jump to 2:57) and the first fire cannons were found in a painting of Dunhuang dated around 950, and it was more of a fire lance than anything else. Technology advanced, and by the time you got to the Ming dynasty, you really had fire power that could pack a punch.
Side detail: I like how the smoke that comes out looks like the clouds in those ancient Chinese paintings.
Why is Chi-Fu holding a clipboard? Those haven’t been invented yet!
Is he writing on paper? If so, it doesn’t make sense for the bamboo books to be seen previously because the bamboo books came before paper.
This post was edited on 25/10 for grammar and further fact checking.