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Thread: CHINESE Culture and Language Help

  1. #11
    I wonder what a Muggle-born would do when confronted with an owl who is determinedly going towards them with a letter. "Get away from meeeee!!"

    Originally posted by Molly:

    Something else I have found myself pondering about is how the Chinese wizarding society would have viewed the practice of foot binding. Would they have seen it as barbaric, or would they have practiced it as well? I'm sure they would use spells instead, but keep in mind the apeal of foot binding was not just small feet, but the shape of the foot as well, which was said to resemble a lily blossom.
    I don't think foot binding got really popular until relatively late in Chinese history, so it would depend on when and how much the wizarding society divided itself from the Muggle society. If it was pre-Qing dynasty, they probably wouldn't do too much about shape, though the upper classes would probably do something about size... but it also depends on women's role in society. Small feet -> don't have to work.

    Feet are traditionally fetishized in the region though - even today, Mongolian (I think it's Mongolian, I read that article a long time ago) women go bare breasted on hot days but only show their feet to their husbands.

    The difference is how strong the fetish is - in Qing dynasty China, basically all women who weren't the very poorest bound their feet because otherwise they wouldn't be able to get married. Still, I think the upper classes practiced some kind of foot binding for a long time before then. It's proof that you're rich and that your wife doesn't have to work - her little feet prove that.

    I've never understood the lily shape thing. The toes and arch were broken to the point that sometimes women got gangrene - it's nasty. As far as I know, the shape made the women walk in a certain way (really swaying) which was really desirable... except Manchu women found a way to fake it with special shoes.

    Elven Egyptian Princess
    Nubian would be more accurate though...

  2. #12
    So I suppose it would all depend on which traditions of Muggle fashion the wizarding world has decided to take on and which ones they have chosen to leave behind. One must also take into consideration of how socially advanced the Chinese wizarding community is compared to the Muggle one. As we have seen in Britain, wizards are fairly enlightened in terms of women and their roles in society. They have had female Healers, headmasters of Hogwarts, and even female Ministers of Magic long before such a thing could have conceivably happened in Muggle society.

    But if the Chinese wizarding world makes women as subordinate as they are in the Muggle world, that might not be something we would see. And foot binding was a way to show that a man's wife did not have to work. If wizards did not practice this, what is another way they could have gone about showing this sort of status?

  3. #13
    Originally posted by Molly:
    If wizards did not practice this, what is another way they could have gone about showing this sort of status?
    Probably the same ways we do today. If people work out in the fields and get tan, then it's better to have pale skin. If people work inside in offices, then having a tan because you have time to be outside and tan. Wearing nice (or just expensive) clothes and/or jewelry, not working... think of what rich, spoiled housewives do nowadays. (I really do dislike all those Housewife reality shows...)

    How does Hogwarts find all those Muggle born students anyway? With the sheer mass movements of people and general upheaval for a good deal of the 20th century, how could the schools even find Muggle students?

    Elven Egyptian Princess
    Never stops asking questions

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aida
    How does Hogwarts find all those Muggle born students anyway? With the sheer mass movements of people and general upheaval for a good deal of the 20th century, how could the schools even find Muggle students?
    I assume that it is via the Trace. The Ministry can track every instance of underage magic automatically, so I would assume that it would be the same for children that are below school age. Also, I'd think they would keep an eye out for disturbances in the Muggle world that could be attributed to accidental magic and investigate them.
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  5. #15
    I have really taken an interest in AidaLuthien's Chinese story, I'm going to do my very best to be very helpful.

    As to finding Muggle-borns, J.K. has stated in interviews that Hogwarts is in possession of a magical quill that records every magical birth in Britain (including Muggle-borns). Every year, the school goes to the book where names are written, go back eleven years, and send letters to all the names recorded.

    Of course, it could be quite possible that not every school has possession of a quill such as this, so other methods have to be taken.

    In my stories taking place in the United States, they way they find Muggle-borns are through special Search-and-Seek charmed envolpes. They place the letter in an envolope, set certain peramiters: nine-year-old Muggle-borns with no letter (because in the US, Muggle-borns are given two years' warning), and each envolope has a trace on it, so after the letter is sent, a teacher follows to explain the situation to the parents. They just keep sending out more and more letters, until the envolopes start coming back, which means they have found every Muggle-born child there is to find.

    But, as you can imagine, the system is not fool-proof, making for a lot of funny stories.

    You may or may not wish to use another magical quill to record Chinese births (I have a feeling there would be quite a lot of them). This might also give you an opportunity to stretch the Rowling-side of you imagination.

  6. #16
    Does anyone have any specifics on traditional Chinese clothes? The wikipedia pages are really confusing

  7. #17
    Hmmm, would pictures be of any help. I know I am of right-brain orientation, and pictures always help for me.

    Here is the design for the costume for the opening ceremonies of the Chinese Olympics.

    The style of this outfit is known as Hanfu, the traditional dress of the Hans, and probably likely what you will be aiming for. Hanfu was the tradition dress of the Han (majority) ethnicity of China until they were invaded by the Manchu and ordered to adopt the new rules style of dress. The Hans still protesed, though, fighting to maintain their traditions of dress, and therefore, their identity as Hans.

    Here is the traditional Manchu clothing.

    And here is the Han.

    From what I see, Manchu clothing has a high collar design, while Han is more robe-like. Also, the Manchu design has much more elaborate head orniments.

    But as I understand it, your school is located in the southern region of China, so I am not sure if the Hans or the Manchu either one would be considered the ethnic groups of the region.

    But I did find some Southern Han clothing.

    Terri edit: All pictures have been removed. Pictures must be hosted on your own personal photo account as I told you in PM. Putting pictures up this way strains our server. 5 points from Ravenclaw for not abiding by the rules of posting images.

  8. #18
    Darn. I like cheong sam too, but those appear to be more Manchu style.

    The nitty gritty is what is confusing me with clothes - apparently there are side slits and sometimes there are panels and sometimes there aren't, and this varies by dynasty and era. Gahhhh. Stupid clothes.

    The photos are really useful, Molly, thanks. I guess what I need is a lay out of what every day and formal clothes are for men and women in... maybe the Tang-Song dynasty eras. *sigh That might be too much to ask, but if someone has any information, that would be great.

  9. #19
    Well, since you want to know some specifics of tranditional Chinese clothing, I shall provide you with more information!

    As to clothing from the Tan-Song dynasty, here are some excepts I have found from various websites.
    The Tang dynasty was the most thriving, prosperous, splendid, and glorious period of ancient Chinese culture and art. The style of women’s clothing during the Tang dynasty is the most outstanding in China’s history. Tang dynasty attire had many different styles, and was ever changing, which enabled the look of the Tang dynasty style to remain elegant, noble and poised, and forever unique and amazing. The costumes of the Tang dynasty are like exotic flowers in Chinese history. The quality of the material was particularly fine and delicate, and the decorations lustrous. The characteristics of Tang dynasty attire were distinctive and natural, displaying the beauty, grace, and freedom of people from heaven. Hair was styled to cover the temples and frame the face, and gowns were low-cut with a high waistband. Women’s outfits consisted of a shirt with short sleeves and a long skirt; or a loose-sleeved shirt, long skirt, and a shawl. Hair was coiled high in a bun, with such names as “gazing-gods bun,” “cloud bun,” “double handing-down bun” and so on, the clothing were mainly short jacket or shirt, and long skirt with a shawl, half-length sleeve, phoenix was decorated at the toe of the silk shoes or shoes weaved by grass, coiling the hair in a “flower bun”, so that one could put bamboo hat on the head. After the prosperous Tang dynasty, sleeves became looser and larger. In the Tang dynasty, there was “the rule of the wide belt.” This convention dictated that the quality and quantity of decorations on the belt be used to indicate the rank of government officials. For example, officials lower than the first rank wore a sword or knife, officials and generals higher than the third rank wore jade belts, officials of the fourth and fifth rank wore gold belts, and the six- and seventh-ranking officials wore silver belts. In comparison, ordinary people could only wear a small bronze or iron knife.
    Song Dynasty clothing can be divided into three categories of style. One was designed for the empress, the noble concubines, and females of all levels of “government uses”; another style called “formal clothes” was for ordinary people; and one style was casual for daily use. The clothing designed for Song Dynasty government officials was extremely luxurious, and even common people dressed very fastidiously. Not only were the fabrics elegant, but also the hair styles were very special. Some were braided and hung down on the shoulder, while some were like cloud lights with delicate bands supporting the golden phoenix. People without much money used paper decorations in their hair, fragrance on the body, and wore shoes with embroidered flowers.
    Other specifics I have found include that clothing was used to project ones social status, so this will likely be a factor in the dress of Chinese wizards as well. Specific classes of gentry even had their own distinct colors and patterns. Fur an extra padding was added to clothing in the winter months, though this was because of the high price of coal, but you could make this part of your style, maybe winter cloaks for the students.

    For materials, fine silks and brocades with gold and silver were used for formal clothing. The poorer, or clothing for less formal occasions, was made from hemo in the North and cotton in the South. Women's attire was fastened on the left, and men's fastened on the right. Women also wore hairpins and various ornaments to show their wealth. Phoenixes and flowers were common designs.

    Also, people never left the house barefoot. There were even shops that specialized in hats, headcoverings, and hairpins, as well as shops that specialized in belts and waiststraps. It is likely that Chinese tailors in the wizarding community would also place a great deal of importance on this.

    As for shoes, satin slippers were considered the most formal. For more casual wear, people wore leather shoes called 'oiled footwear', wooden sandals, and hemp sandals. Of course, women needed special shoes for their bound feet, but I'm not sure if wizards continue the practice, or ever took part in it.

    Here are also some notable differences between Han and Manchu clothing. Have you decided which ethnic group you want the clothing based on? It might not even be either of these.

    • The upper garments have loose lapels and are open, and are called 'yi'.
    • The lower garments are skirts called 'chang'.
    • The collars cross diagonally over one another, with the left over the right, much like a Japanese kimono.
    • The sleeves are long and loose.
    • Buttons are minimal and hidden with the garment.
    • As for fittings, belts and sashes are used to close, secure and fit the garments around the waist.

    • The upper garments have secured lapels around the neck and no front openings.
    • The lower garments are pants or trousers called 'ku'.
    • The collars are parallel and vertical with parallel diagonal lapels, which overlap.
    • The sleeves are narrow and tight.
    • Buttons are numerous and clearly displayed.
    • As for fittings, flat ornate buttoning systems are typically used to secure the collar and fit the garment around the neck and upper torso.

    Here are some more specifics of Han clothing.

    • Shenyi: a long full body garment
    • Quju: diagonal body wrap
    • Zhiju: straight lapels
    • Zhongyi: inner garments, mostly white cotton or silk
    • Shanqun: a short coat with a long skirt
    • Ruqun: a top garment with a separate lower garment or skirt
    • Kuzhe: a short coat with trousers
    • Zhiduo a Ming Dynasty style robe, similar to a zhiju shenyi but with vents at the side and 'stitched sleeves' (i.e. the sleeve cuff is closed save a small opening for the hand to go through)

    Traditional Han clothing is layered, two or three is the typical. The first layer is the zhongyi, which is a lot like a modern-day t-shirt. The second layer is the main layer of clothing, the shenyi. The third layer is the additives, such as the kuzhe and the shanqun. White socks with black shoes are the usual footwear.

    These outfits can be made semi-formal by the edition of any of these.

    • Chang: a pleated skirts
    • Bixi: long front cloth panel attached from the waist belt
    • Zhaoshan: long open fronted coat
    • Guan: formal hats

    Semi-formal is used for greeting guests into your home or going to special events.

  10. #20
    Double-posting because I thought of something while I was in Barnes & Noble.

    I'm sure that Latin-based spell arrived in China after the arrival of the Europeans, but for as advanced as the Chinese civillization was, I would like to think they were able to come up with the concept of spells before white men showed up. That probably means that in Chinese society, a great deal of the spells used are in Chinese, seeing as Chinese was a cradle language for East Asia, much like Latin is a cradle language for much of Europe.

    Just a point I thought I should bring up. Let me feel like I bought a Chinese dictionary on a whim for good reason!

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