watertribechieftain:

mrspiritual:

justthefactsmaam:

teammavatar:

Fire Lords

wonder what the fire lords before Sozin were like.

Well, the symbols that are drawn with the profile elude to what major thing they did in their life.

The first dude with the flowers behind him, I’m no expert, but I’d imagine he was rather peaceful, friendly, promoted peace throughout the land. Maybe the type of flower symbolizes something more.

The top center dude has stars, one at his feet and one in his hand. Perhaps he was a great leader and provided guidance for his people (more so than the other firelords) because the stars are used to guide you through the night. Or perhaps he was a guidance in regard to education, promoting learning and knowledge among his people. Or still, it has to do with the invention of using the stars as a map. Or a lot of progress was made in astrology under his ruling.

Sozin we pretty much know already. There’s the comet over his head, but also a scroll in his hand, and an army at his feet. The army probably alludes to him being a militant leader. Perhaps he built up the army’s forces. The scroll, I’m thinking either two things. He wrote a lot of rules, or he wrote a lot in general.

Azulon is standing on a cloud on a turtle-snake. No clue what that would symbolize. Maybe someone who was highly praised and worshiped like a saint. Idk.

Ozai is seen with gears and pipes at his feet eluding to the industrial growth the firenation experienced under his rule. It’s interesting that his palms are facing towards you unlike the others. Maybe that has to do with being more forceful and less merciful, and the fire in his hands is black. Idk what that would mean.

In Confucianism, a great leader is said to be one who is like the north star; in a static position that everything rotates around; such a man is stable and virtuous, and guides men to be such my example, not by force.  The top center man probably didn’t rule with a heavy hand, but was revered for his personal virtue, and was a role model for his subjects, hence the Sun itself at his feet and standing on the clouds like a heavenly figure.

Sozin had a long peaceful reign before the war, so the scroll probably denotes him as a law giver, like Justinian or Lycurgus.  It could be a similar convention to someone holding stone tablets like Moses.
Azulon is standing on the back of a turtle; an animal that lives on both land and water.  It was Azulon who launched the raids on the southern water tribe and conquered most of the territory in the Earth Kingdom.  He was also considered to be legendarily skilled at Firebending even among Fire Lords, hence the two fireballs in his hands.

atla-annotated:

Air Bending: Fighting

All Bending Arts in ATLA contain defensive and offensive moves:

When Aang fights with Hi De, On Ji’s boyfriend, he defends himself using Ba Gua Zhang i.e. Wu  Dang style martial arts. This style is famous for its ‘circle walking’ i.e. avoiding the opponents strikes by staying behind their back. Aang demonstrates it rather well in the gifs.


The Bending Arts: Airbending

Airbending is based on Ba Gua Zhang

Bāguàzhǎng is one of the three main Chinese martial arts of the Wudang school, the other two being Taijiquan and Xingyiquan. It is more broadly grouped as an internal practice (or neijia gong). Bāguà zhǎng literally means “eight trigram palm,” referring to the trigrams of the Yijing (I Ching), one of the canons of Taoism.[1]

Look, it’s the creators talking:


branch56:

Azula from A:TLA. Gave her the royalty treatment…

branch56:

Azula from A:TLA. Gave her the royalty treatment…

atla-annotated:

The Hat Katara Wears as the Painted Lady is Called ‘Wei Mao’.
The 帷帽 wei mao style hat was created in the Jin dynasty, the style continued to be worn during the Tang Dynasty, but with a higher, conical top-hat like, hat. Click me for image.

The Jin Dynasty晋朝was a dynasty in Chinese history, lasting between the years 265 and 420 CE. There are two main divisions in the history of the Dynasty, the first being Western Jin (ch: 西晉, 265–316) and the second Eastern Jin (ch: 東晉 317–420). Western Jin was founded by Sima Yan, with its capital at Luoyang, while Eastern Jin was begun by Sima Rui, with its capital at Jiankang. The two periods are also known as Liang Jin (ch: 兩晉 lit, two Jin) and Sima Jin by scholars, to distinguish this dynasty from other dynasties that use the same Chinese character, such as the Later Jin Dynasty (ch: 後晉).

Image source: One, two

atla-annotated:

The Hat Katara Wears as the Painted Lady is Called ‘Wei Mao’.

The 帷帽 wei mao style hat was created in the Jin dynasty, the style continued to be worn during the Tang Dynasty, but with a higher, conical top-hat like, hat. Click me for image.

The Jin Dynasty晋朝was a dynasty in Chinese history, lasting between the years 265 and 420 CE. There are two main divisions in the history of the Dynasty, the first being Western Jin (ch: 西晉, 265–316) and the second Eastern Jin (ch: 東晉 317–420). Western Jin was founded by Sima Yan, with its capital at Luoyang, while Eastern Jin was begun by Sima Rui, with its capital at Jiankang. The two periods are also known as Liang Jin (ch: 兩晉 lit, two Jin) and Sima Jin by scholars, to distinguish this dynasty from other dynasties that use the same Chinese character, such as the Later Jin Dynasty (ch: 後晉).

Image source: One, two

polapaz321:

Fire nation new HOT GUY!!!
General Iroh!!!!

polapaz321:

Fire nation new HOT GUY!!!

General Iroh!!!!

atla-annotated:

Li and Lo - Imperial Concubines

Or things that we can totally sneak past the censors if we never say them outright.

First, I’d like you to take a close look at the number of layers on Li and Lo’s robes: Three.

The only people we ever see wearing three layers like that is the Fire Lord and Iroh as General in the field (when he was still crown prince) i.e. high ranking Fire Nation royalty.

So what does that mean: Li and Lo have to be high ranking.

Zuko, even as crown prince Ozai you dick only gets two layers. The same goes for Azula.

Yet Li and Lo are never addressed as family, no title of cousin, aunt, grandma etc. Iroh, on the other hand is frequently referred to as uncle, as is Lu Ten as cousin.

Neither do they seem to hold a court title. They are not Sifu Li and Lo, even though they supervise Azula’s firebending training. They are not addressed as minister or general or get any other title throughout the series but their names.

Taking into account their high rank, and how trusted they are, as well as the official duties (Like welcoming the prince and princess back) they have, the conclusion I have come to is that their title was omitted to sneak it past the censors.

Also noting that we get specifically told how hot they were when they were young, my conclusion is that they were Azulon’s concubines.

And later Ozai’s since traditionally in Imperial China the heir did inherit the concubines of his father XD and then Azula, and then Zuko.

Empress Wu (625-706)

Wu became a junior concubine at the age of twelve. When her Emperor died, she became the concubine of his successor, and later his Empress.

You are welcome. Kittens?

More about Imperial Consorts: Click me!

atla-annotated:

The Imperial Roofs of the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom


Both, the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom have golden- red roofs. They follow the Chinese architectural feature of yellow roof tiles/roofs indicating an imperial building.

Note how both, Caldera and Upper Ring in Ba Sing Se have yellow/red roofs, and the Lower and Middle Ring do not. While all buildings in the Fire Nation seem to be Ozai’s buildings (but for the Painted Lady village, they have thatched roofs.) and I do think this is intentional, another reminder how strong the FN government is, how far its reach is into everyday life.

As I have mentioned before, the flame ornaments and steeply upturned roofs, especially of the Caldera and Ember Island, resemble traditional Thai architecture (compare the Royal Palace in Bankok).

Please also compare the Royal Palace in Tokyo, which does not feature yellow or red roofs.

Thai History: Click me

Image source: One, two, three, four, five

atla-annotated:

Fire Nation Origins – What does canon show us? 

The misconception that the Fire Nation is mainly based on Japan, and that Fire Nation Japanese elements make up the majority of the Fire Nation culture, has been around for a while. Since I get asked about this topic several times a week, I have decided to make this a feature. Please note that this post is not about what you do in you fanfic or fanart, which is your own choice, but about what we see in the show.

We are going to take a closer look at the Fire Nation’s language, clothing and armor, geography, political system, architecture, food, hairstyles, names, festivals, traditions, weapons and last, but not least, real world parallels.

Armor

Note: I am not an armor expert, if I am using the wrong terminology, please let me know, I am happy to correct it.

On first glance Fire Nation armor does look influenced by Japanese Samurai armor. Said style, though, does not originate in Japan, but in China’s Tang Dynasty.

Let us compare the two styles of armor against the Fire Nation armor.

First: Features that both styles share (blue).

Both styles feature scary face masks, helmet flaps, shoulder guards, wide thigh guards and arm guards.

Now, what differs:

Fire Nation armor elements taken solely from Samurai armor (green):

Some of the soldiers wear helmets with horn-like decorations. This style element is taken from Samurai armor.

Fire Nation armor elements taken solely from Tang Dynasty armor (pink):

The high collar, the pentagonal chest armor, style of the knee-high boots, the leg armor and the triangular front armor/guard are all style elements taken from Tang armor.

Note how Tang armor, like Zuko’s armor, has the chest outline and a three piece waist/thigh guard, with a pointed/triangular-ish front. Also note how the Tang shoes feature the same upturned toe we see on Fire Nation shoes and then please compare that against the Samurai shoes on the right hand lower corner, which feature a style never seen in ATLA.

Conclusion: In direct comparison, (1 vs. 5) it becomes clear that Fire Nation armor features more elements borrowed from Tang Dynasty armor than from Samurai armor.

I am aware that the creators, at one point had planned to make the Fire Nation more Japanese, but if you take a look at what we actually see in the show, it becomes clear that they changed their mind. People do that. (See Toph and Azula NOT being boys)

Why does Tang Dynasty armor look so similar to Samurai armor:

The Tang Dynasty 618 to 907 CE is widely considered to be the most glorious, prosperous and influential time in the history of Imperial China. It’s influence stretched far and long, through trade via the Silk Road and across the ocean to Korea and Japan and can still be seen today. (See above). Many aspects of Korean and Japanese tradition -from clothes to art- originated in the fashions and style of that dynasty.

Image sources: One, two, three, four, five

atla-annotated:

Fire Nation Origins – What does canon show us?  
The misconception that the Fire Nation is mainly based on Japan, and that Fire Nation Japanese elements make up the majority of the Fire Nation culture, has been around for a while. Since I get asked about this topic several times a week, I have decided to make this a feature. Please note that this post is not about what you do in you fanfic or fanart, which is your own choice, but about what we see in the show.
We are going to take a closer look at the Fire Nation’s language, clothing and armor, geography, political system, architecture, food, hairstyles, names, festivals, traditions, weapons and last, but not least, real world parallels. 
Definition of ‘is’. I define ‘is’ in the terms of “The Fire Nation is Japan” to mean more than 50%, or at least the biggest or most influential portion of all influences. If by ‘is’ you mean, in the Sino-centric a:tla universe, the Fire Nation features a few references to Japan; congratulations, I agree with you. 
Language
Spoken:
Let’s for the sake of this essay assume that they are not speaking English, that we are just hearing it this way.  Speaking English and writing in Chinese would be odd, to say the least. 
We also have to assume that everyone in the A:TLA universe speaks the same language and that there are no distinct accents. No one ever points out an accent in the show, and Katara, Sokka, Toph and Aang pass as unnoticed in the Fire Nation, as Zuko and Uncle do in the Earth Kingdom. 
Written: 
Everyone in the Aang era A:TLA universe communicates in Mandarin, written in traditional characters. 
No one writes in Japanese. Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji are not interchangeable. Even though Japanese Kanji originate from Chinese characters, their meaning, pronunciation and writing has changed over the centuries. 
Please compare: 
Official show title in Japanese: アバター 伝説の少年アン
Official show title in Chinese: 降世神通
And just so that it cannot be argued that the writing I am using as an example was not intended for Fire Nation people, the examples used are from Fire Nation citizens to/for Fire Nation citizens.
Example one: Toph’s wanted poster from season three, episode “The Runaway”: 
Toph’s wanted poster is written in Chinese, not Japanese.

緝拿逃犯
當局懸賞一千金幣
緝捕十二歲女童 她
喬裝盲人個子雖小
極之危險 報訊即賞
Wanted — The Runaway. 
Authorities are offering a reward of one-thousand gold coins for the arrest of this twelve year old girl. She is small and disguises herself as blind . (She is) extremely dangerous. Any information (leading to her arrest) will be rewarded.
 
                                                                       
Example two: Uncle’s letter to Zuko is also written in Chinese. 

烈火國諸賢秘史藏於龍骨墓窟中   
The Fire Nation’s Sages secret histories are hidden in the Dragon Bone Catacombs.

atla-annotated:

Fire Nation Origins – What does canon show us? 

The misconception that the Fire Nation is mainly based on Japan, and that Fire Nation Japanese elements make up the majority of the Fire Nation culture, has been around for a while. Since I get asked about this topic several times a week, I have decided to make this a feature. Please note that this post is not about what you do in you fanfic or fanart, which is your own choice, but about what we see in the show.

We are going to take a closer look at the Fire Nation’s language, clothing and armor, geography, political system, architecture, food, hairstyles, names, festivals, traditions, weapons and last, but not least, real world parallels.

Definition of ‘is’. I define ‘is’ in the terms of “The Fire Nation is Japan” to mean more than 50%, or at least the biggest or most influential portion of all influences. If by ‘is’ you mean, in the Sino-centric a:tla universe, the Fire Nation features a few references to Japan; congratulations, I agree with you.

Language

Spoken:

Let’s for the sake of this essay assume that they are not speaking English, that we are just hearing it this way.  Speaking English and writing in Chinese would be odd, to say the least.

We also have to assume that everyone in the A:TLA universe speaks the same language and that there are no distinct accents. No one ever points out an accent in the show, and Katara, Sokka, Toph and Aang pass as unnoticed in the Fire Nation, as Zuko and Uncle do in the Earth Kingdom.

Written:

Everyone in the Aang era A:TLA universe communicates in Mandarin, written in traditional characters.

No one writes in Japanese. Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji are not interchangeable. Even though Japanese Kanji originate from Chinese characters, their meaning, pronunciation and writing has changed over the centuries.

Please compare:

Official show title in Japanese: アバター 伝説の少年アン

Official show title in Chinese: 降世神通

And just so that it cannot be argued that the writing I am using as an example was not intended for Fire Nation people, the examples used are from Fire Nation citizens to/for Fire Nation citizens.

Example one: Toph’s wanted poster from season three, episode “The Runaway”:

Toph’s wanted poster is written in Chinese, not Japanese.

緝拿逃犯

當局懸賞一千金幣

緝捕十二歲女童

喬裝盲人個子雖小

極之危險 報訊即賞

Wanted — The Runaway.

Authorities are offering a reward of one-thousand gold coins for the arrest of this twelve year old girl. She is small and disguises herself as blind . (She is) extremely dangerous. Any information (leading to her arrest) will be rewarded.

 

                                                                      

Example two: Uncle’s letter to Zuko is also written in Chinese.

烈火國諸賢秘史藏於龍骨墓窟中  

The Fire Nation’s Sages secret histories are hidden in the Dragon Bone Catacombs.


atla-annotated:

Musical Instruments in ATLA and Korra

A while ago someone asked me if I could tell them which instruments are used in the Korra theme.

Now, sadly, I am to music what Sokka is to art.

Instead I bring you: Chinese musical instruments and instruments that we see in ATLA.

This website lets you listen to the individual sounds these instruments make and here is the Korra Main Theme, for you to compare.

Image and reference source: One, two, three

I would also love to point you to this great documentary about Chinese musical instruments:

Part One:

Part Two: