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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

The legend of Mulan has been told in countless iterations and bandied about in poems, stories and songs. It tells the tale of how a young girl took her ailing father's place in the army to defend her kingdom (and her father) and who eventually returned victorious.


Recently discovered scrolls and paintings believed to be the private journals of Sima Qian (the first Chinese Historian), has provided historians with new evidence that Mulan was no mere village girl but much more than that. In an attempt to supress the true extent of her scandalous deception and safeguard her reputation, the ailing Emperor Fa Zhou, while on his deathbed had issued a decree that after her return, his only daughter and heir apparent to the Ming dynasty was forbidden to use her given name outside of the palace. Uttering her name in public would be a crime punishable by death. When he passed, she was only known to her subjects as The Empress Supreme, Ruler of the 3 Kingdoms and Eternal Guardian of the Silk Road. This was most likely the cause for her tale ending in suicide when she returned because to many - Mulan had suddenly vanished.


With the latest advances in modern technology, these new paintings have now been converted into super realistic photo-like pictures presented here today. According to the scrolls, they were commissioned a year after she came to power and she is said to have reigned over the 3 kingdoms with kindness and compassion. She still participated in several (smaller) military efforts but eventually hung up her armour to fully focus on her kingdom.

These never before seen pictures offer a glimpse into the world of the Empress Supreme.
Experts say that based on analysis and historical research, she would have been in her mid 20's when the paintings were commissioned and as seen here, with core members of her royal council.


Although royal blood courses through her veins, and with shoulders heavy with the burden of keeping her kingdoms safe and prosperous, the Empress Supreme was in essence, just a regular young lady still learning about life.


A strong willed nonconformist, she did not like wearing the usual ceremonial ornaments and only unless really necessary (much to the dismay of the more traditional palace officials).


She was much more than just a battle hardened warrior and successful ruler - Mulan was also an extremely talented artist and musician, with a free spirited (and sometimes rebellious) soul, who had a seemingly limitless capacity to carry out countless acts of kindness and generosity in service to her kingdoms. Her stone throne is one such example.


When her people suffered from poverty and her kingdoms were in economic turmoil, she had ordered for (almost) all the gold in the palace melted down and used as a gold standard to weather the crisis and sustain her kingdoms - even the throne was not spared. At the request of the palace elders, she did however; retain several ceremonial items (for official purposes only). In return, her people built her a new throne made of stone - representing her strong will and yet like river rocks, soft and smooth like how she addresses her people.



In the eyes of her people, she was simply stunning - something radiated from within her that rendered her irresistible to both genders. Men desired her and women would court her friendship.



To be in her company was to feel that you too were someone, and that you had been warmed in summer rays regardless of the season.



She wasn't just flawless in her bone structure but her skin was like silk over glass and she radiated an unrivalled intelligent beauty. She was highly beloved by her subjects and was considered to be of divine origins.


The legend of Hua Mulan comes back to life every time China needs hope and inspiration for there is nothing more powerful than a woman with something to fight for. She is a symbol of both bravery and honour with many still believing that she was a real person. As long as she continues to inspire people - the truth may not matter after all.


A list of the other members from the Royal Council were also noted in Sima Qian's scrolls, with a brief description of the roles each had played under the rule of the Empress Supreme and although there were many - he only focused on her inner circle.
These 'guardians' will be covered in the other chapters of this pictomentary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Chapter 2


There were undoubtedly many who served Her Imperial and Royal Majesty but Sima Qian identified the few 'core' members who stood out.


These comprised of her inner circle and were described as a formidable sisterhood of unapologetic independence, having an unwavering sense of honour and fiercely inexhaustible loyalty. Each empowered individual possessed a unique skill set in accordance to their roles and this made them an unstoppable force as a group. This is their story:

The Dragon Warrior : the bodyguard, confidant and general advisor

She was said to be powerful, strong, firm and extremely protective of her Empress.
Not much else is known about her past except for the fact that she was the orphaned daughter of the Emperor's most loyal General who was killed in service to the kingdom.



Out of gratitude, the Emperor took her in as one of his own and provided her with the same privileges Mulan enjoyed. They became sisters and were inseparable.

Sima Qian did not transcribe much about her past but her purpose was clear - to protect the Empress Supreme at all cost.


As with Mulan, the Dragon Warrior received the best education and trained under the best martial arts practitioners of their time.



The Dragon Warrior became known across the lands to be an extremely proficient sword dancer.


In combat, she strikes directly without hesitation, utilising speed and power to shatter enemies with her elegant agility, acrobatic prowess and deadly skills.



Many tales were also told about the Dragon Warrior over the centuries, and (sadly) in modern times - re-imagined quite differently.


More recently, her name was used in another animated franchise feature "Kung Fu Panda" where Po the panda was bestowed her name as his mantle whilst her personality was inspiration to Tigress, a supporting cast and member of the Furious Five.


Shé zú : (the bodyguard and military strategist/advisor)

Also known as the Black Serpent or the Black Dragon.

With the mix of Mongol and Chinese heritage, the Black Serpent is as striking as she is deadly.
Rumours have it that in the last great battle to take back the Silk Road from the raiding Mongol Empire, The Empress Supreme had saved her life in the battlefield and so swore a life debt to the Empress Supreme in this life and the next. Ever loyal to only Her Imperial and Royal Majesty, she is distrustful of strangers and should any dare venture into the palace grounds unannounced, be forewarned - their lives are forfeit.


Her coal-black eyes were midnight and raven wings, matched by the way she felt towards the world - dark and cold. Although she keeps to herself more often than not, all who know of her fear her and avoid her gaze as there would be no mercy shown and no quarter given.


In battle, it is written that her hair flowed down her back like black ink on a tilted piece of parchment as she moves like water transformed by music, flowing graceful arcs, limbs in constant motion, painting a picture sound alone can never achieve.


With her blood swords, each swaying movement told a story - one of entrapment yet beauty.


Like how silk catches light in lovely ways, all her enemies would see before their death was a shimmer of light as they gracefully twirled around each other like ribbons in the wind full of poetry.


Lady Butterfly : (the doctor, dietician and head chef)

A herbalist by trade and the with the wealth of knowledge passed down from generations of the best healers and medical practitioners of their era, Lady Butterfly's role is just as crucial as her counterparts in ensuring her Empress' prosperous longevity.

She is entrusted with the task of keeping the Empress Supreme's Chi in constant balance through various remedies, herbal concoctions and using her vast medicinal knowledge. Always at ready with her father's copper pouches, she ensures the ruler of the 3 kingdoms is always centred - her body, mind, soul and spirit are constantly in harmony in an ever stressful role that takes a toll on health and wellbeing.


A strict and carefully planned dietary menu is prepared daily for The Empress Supreme with rich ingredients sourced from the far reaches of the kingdom to ensure Her Imperial and Royal Majesty gets all the nutrients necessary to live a healthy lifestyle.


Her ivory skin and soul piercing cloudless sky blue eyes are captivating. It wasn't the colour of her eyes that were so breathtaking for anyone looking into them but more of what was inside them - many believed she had her own sky inside of her and wondered how many stars her eyes held.


She is also known throughout the 3 kingdoms as the healer and is usually seen blowing through the royal halls like a fresh breeze with flowing golden curls of vibrant fall leaves. Coupled with her smile warmer than the gentle sun, if gods were real, then Lady Butterfly is truly their masterpiece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Chapter 3

Lady Li Xue : (the scholar, enchantress and foreign affairs liaison)

Truly a sight to behold, she graces the halls like a swan on water and she captures the heart of men with her soft yet contagious energy.

She wore strands of molten gold that tumbled out of her scalp, cascading down her back like a waterfall that was long and fluid, gently lying over her shoulders, kissing her soft skin.


An extremely talented conversationalist, she is able to defuse any situation with her irresistible charm. There is always a practiced shyness to her, hesitation in her body movements and a softness in her voice that draws people into letting their guard down and surrendering to her hypnotic wiles and immense powers of persuasion.


Of course being highly practiced in the art of seduction and tactility, it is little wonder why she is able to wrap her fingers around even the most fearsome of warriors.


When she smiled and laughed, you couldn't help but smile along too, even if it was just on the inside. There was an undeniable symmetry to her features and perhaps that's what makes men stutter and blush when addressed by her.


Lady Jiaying : (the entertainer)

Jiaying is an entertainer with many creative talents in arts, poetry and music - a petite bundle of curiosity and joy who is friendly, loving, and well-liked by all.

Florid cheeks and flawlessly sculpted lips set together on a delicate, almost angelic face as if crafted by angels themselves glistened attractively when she spoke in hushed tones.


When she plays a tune, people would watch her like she had the stars in her hands and soft petals at her feet.


When Jiaying flowed in dance, it was as if it was the only way her body knew how to speak as she was verbally guarded and shy.



Nicknamed the 'little cricket' by the Empress Supreme - this may be the inspiration behind the lucky cricket portrayed in animated feature "Mulan".


Ying Yue : (the warrior)

Daughter of the head cook for the kingdom's legion, she adored her Empress and aspired to one day be as brave as the Kingdom's most fearless warrior. For as long as he can remember, all she ever wanted was to enlist in the army in service to her Kingdom, just like the Empress Supreme.


She spent her early childhood sword playing with the boys and hanging around the chaotic halls of the kitchen, immersing herself in the frenetic noise and distractions of the mess halls and grieved to the screams of wounded and dying soldiers. She was well known within the army ranks who called her the 'little spark'. In her own fashion, she gradually matured into a hardened youngling.

This caught the eye of Lady Butterfly who took her in as an apprentice for several years until such time she was of age to enlist. This gave her the opportunity to become the personal servant for her idol, the Empress Supreme for which she enjoyed every moment of it.


In her spare time, she would seek out new things to learn and was relentless in her quest to ready herself for when the time comes. She acquired combat skills from her Dragon sisters, survival skills and basic medicine with Lady Butterfly and even a bit of music from Lady Jiaying.


The day arrived when she enlisted and vowed to do her part in keeping her Imperial and Royal Majesty as well as her kingdom safe from their enemies.


And that she did - steadily rising up the ranks in the years to follow and until she was Commander of the Nameless Order, leader of the warriors tasked with defending the Great Wall against outside threats and enemies of the 3 kingdoms. As with many military contributions that go unrecorded and unrecognised, there was no doubt that the 3 Kingdoms would have long fallen into the hands of its enemies if not for Yiu Ye and her fellow warriors who selflessly defended the gates of their kingdom from attacking hordes.


Sima Qian noted that although it was a most challenging period of economic turmoil, poverty and uncertainty, it was not without the help from her inner circle that the Empress Supreme was able to navigate through the hardships. He also described the 3 kingdoms as an unstoppable force that only the foolish would try and wrest control without the risk of facing the unrestrained wrath of the Empress Supreme and the fury of her people.


The end.
 

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Is this based on real history, or an edited version of it to make up your story?
what i like - elaborated set. I always thought, if you have an impressive set, you should totally post it here for us mortals to awe
what i don't quite like - not all HS used were asian...but since the Lin Mae HS sucked so much, who can blame you...
Overall...I thought history were real....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Very well done I love the outfits!
Thank you kindly - sorry my post had a lot of words.

Wow, fantastic work on all levels
Wow, beautifully detailed work on all the figures. Very nicely done.
Thanks guys - I'm glad you liked it.

Beautiful clothing, great props. Thanks for sahring.
Is this based on real history, or an edited version of it to make up your story?
what i like - elaborated set. I always thought, if you have an impressive set, you should totally post it here for us mortals to awe
what i don't quite like - not all HS used were asian...but since the Lin Mae HS sucked so much, who can blame you...
Overall...I thought history were real....
Thanks Warrior and brassco for dropping by.
- The story - The balad of Mulan is in books. Her lineage, companions and tie-in references to the movie Mulan and Kung Fu Panda - totally made up. Took me a while to figure out how to connect them to this story. (Glad it is somewhat believable?)
- Headsculpts - I used the ones that I liked and with the assumption they had Eurasians even back then lol
- Nothing overly complicated about the backdrop/set tbh - it was just cloth, some mini flowers, nicks nacks found, bought or made and then cobbled together. Here's what I mean :
WIP : flower vase : PVC pipes wrapped with printed paper


WIP : Food tray : bought the bowls of food and made my own serving tray from plastics sheets and then painted. Chopsticks - ends of toothpicks.


WIP : Mulan's work table : abacus made from beads & plastic sheets, printed scrolls, etc.


What took me the longest and over a few months were the head ornaments, earrings, necklaces, chokers and other accessories on all of the girls.
Some came with the clothing sets while others were added on.


Thanks again for dropping by - I know it's a long story and I've tried my best to make it as interesting as I possibly could so I hope you've enjoyed the storytelling approach and the characters I created around the story.
 

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Wow - amazing work! I found the history totally believable as well.
 

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O M G !

I have no further words for such awesomeness.
 

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Stunning work. I love the elaborate outfits, jewelry, details (those are some awesome finds and customs), and the way in which you approached these posts, creating a back story and introduction for all characters. I do have some issues with your Chinese history (e.g., Sima Qian died in 86 BC, the Ming Dynasty came to power AD 1368), and society (e.g., a princess would never inherit her father's throne), but still a great job! Thanks for sharing (and also for sharing some of the secrets of how you put everything together).
 

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Stunning!
Amazing!
Inspired!

I was spellbound as I read and viewed this post!
 

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You can work on the hairstyle for all your characters if there's anything to improve on...Hope to see the new pictures soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Beautiful!!!!
O M G !
I have no further words for such awesomeness.
Stunning!
Amazing!
Inspired!
I was spellbound as I read and viewed this post!
Thank you all for dropping by :) very much appreciated !

Wow - amazing work! I found the history totally believable as well.
Thanks for dropping by Spitfire !
I was really worried that I'd loose people's attention with the story half way and so had to find a way to keep the story interesting and I am happy that you went all the way to the end !

Stunning work. I love the elaborate outfits, jewelry, details (those are some awesome finds and customs), and the way in which you approached these posts, creating a back story and introduction for all characters. I do have some issues with your Chinese history (e.g., Sima Qian died in 86 BC, the Ming Dynasty came to power AD 1368), and society (e.g., a princess would never inherit her father's throne), but still a great job! Thanks for sharing (and also for sharing some of the secrets of how you put everything together).
Thanks GubernatorFan for your kind words and for dropping by.
Aside from your very valid points, I'm sure there will be a lot more 'holes' in this story that can be further dissected and disputed in comparison to real historical events / practices but then again - this work is pure fiction cooked up to tie a story to all the characters I created based on a specific theme and of course to coincide with the Chinese New Year :)

Pretty darned cool, if you ask me! Superb work and worthy of a nom for KotM!!
David
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You're damn right!
Thanks highwayman and Chung for your kind words I appreciate you guys dropping by :)
A lot of planning was involved with this spanning a good few months and I'm just glad you guys enjoyed it as much as I did !


You can work on the hairstyle for all your characters if there's anything to improve on...Hope to see the new pictures soon!
Thanks for the reference and suggestion brassco - but I'm calling this project completed. I also sadly do not possess the necessary skill to style their hair that way. I am curious about the volume, type of hair (saran/fur/real) and length of the hair to achieve that in your reference picture though and if it is achievable with stock rooted hair. I've seen numerous BJD references and they looks phenomenal, but not something I can achieve :(

Thanks again to everyone for dropping by !
 
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