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[Current Mainland Chinese Drama 2018] The Story of Ming Lan 庶女明兰传 / 知否?知否?应是绿肥红瘦

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2 hours ago, m0us3y said:

I think the reason a lot of viewers find it unacceptable is because they view it with a 21st century lense. Where women are more of an equal to men than it has ever been. 

So the inequality and discrimination against the women becomes hard to watch, and sometimes hard to fathom. 

@m0us3yI was just searching online about the Tang Dynasty, the one that preceded, the Song Dynasty, the dynasty where the picture of the princess embroidered by ML's mom and given to GTY, the princess general. http://www.womenofchina.cn/womenofchina/html1/people/history/7/7448-1.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Zetian#Early_reign

 

Some excerpts: "Tang women had the chance to learn history, politics, and military skills.  At the founding of this dynasty, Women of the royal family were not subject to marital restrictions or constraints either. From the reign of Emperor Gaozong to that of Emperor Suzong during the early and middle Tang Dynasty, there were altogether 98 princesses, of which 61 married, among whom 24 remarried, and four married three times. This trend shook the very foundations of traditional feudal ethics. Living within a relaxed social environment, and having an independent social status, the behavior of well-educated Tang women was obviously quite different from that of the women of former dynasties. They could drink wine to the limit of their capacity, and sing loudly in taverns; gallop through the suburbs with abandon; or even compete with men on the polo field. In the Tang Dynasty, women conducted social activities and carried on business independently. They even distinguished themselves within the political and military arena."

 

"The ultimate Tang Dynasty woman was undoubtedly Wu Zetian. There were altogether 243 emperors during the 2,000 years from the beginning of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1911), and Wu Zetian was the only female monarch among them. Wu Zetian was the most legendary and controversial figure in Chinese history. She lived to be 82, and held power for 50 years.

During Wu Zetian's reign, the achievements of her predecessors were carried forward and further developed, eventually bringing the Tang Dynasty to the peak of its Kaiyuan splendor. Within the Tang Dynasty's centuries-long prosperity, 50 years can be accredited to Wu Zetian. It was the Tang Dynasty that created Empress Wu Zetian, and this indomitable woman reciprocated by devoting her life and energies to her people."

 

It seems basing on this drama based on the Song Dynasty,  the role of women in society changed in the Song Dynasty as we see in the drama? 

 

 

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1 hour ago, tomo74 said:

Hhmm..... wonder which situation is better?  loved by husband but not mother in law or loved by mother in law but not husband?

@tomo74in those days when mother in law lives in the wife's house, neither. That is only my:wink: grade for effort, but not the quality.

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1 hour ago, ForgottenSoulx said:

 

Anyone whose watched any Harem drama can accept this GTY situation very easily, back then literally all male's had many wife's unless you were hidden gay ;p

As for me; this is the first time Im watching a male lead with this kind of situation;the reason I accepted gty easily bcoz I have already prepared myself long time ago when this show hvnt aired yet...through reading some infos abwt gty's character over the net..now,cnt w8t for what more he can to us,and I love how caring and sweet he is to his daughter... cant w8t for them w/t minglan te be a family soon.:blush:

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3 hours ago, ForgottenSoulx said:
3 hours ago, zenya22 said:

 

 

 

GTY saved ML like 3 times that is more effort then anyone ;p 

 

Also i think Grandma married down because that's how it was for female's then or did they marry up i cant remember, maybe she was in love so married down. 

@ForgottenSoulxI meant effort in wanting, chasing.... and trying to get :wink:. I actually meant it to be facetious 

 

You are right, @gleek49  said in book she married for love and defied her family. 

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1 hour ago, leeza77 said:

From ML's conversation with grandma, it seemed that ML has to accept and agreed to the insistence of QH to married her, when she knew about QH hunger strikes and his quarrel with his mother. She felt disloyal if she rejected him despite QH's efforts to marry her. 

Really dislike the way qh cried and cried for his failure. Should man up and accept his responsibility and make the best of the situation. 

That's exactly what I meant. He doesn't let himself go, and he doesn't let her go. In a way, it's a guilt trip. That a man of his status would "do" so much for her. Although everything he does, she doesn't actually benefit. If anything, he's only hurting her by promising something he cant deliver. But it's enough to tie her down and make her feel like she should reciprocate. 

This, in my view, isn't love. 

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On the topic of disappointing men, was anyone else upset with ML's father and his refusal at her requests on behalf of her dead mother? 

 

What a richard simmons... hope he gets his comeuppance. 

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@crackaddict I didn't like how Shen Hong wanted to brush aside the possibility of foul play in ML mom's demise.He is a shrewd guy and I feel he has guessed in part that the inner court ladies had not played fair in the circumstances leading to her death.At this point he is too worried of not getting his household involved in a scandal.

He comes across as a very selfish man.

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48 minutes ago, m0us3y said:

That's exactly what I meant. He doesn't let himself go, and he doesn't let her go. In a way, it's a guilt trip. That a man of his status would "do" so much for her. Although everything he does, she doesn't actually benefit. If anything, he's only hurting her by promising something he cant deliver. But it's enough to tie her down and make her feel like she should reciprocate. 

This, in my view, isn't love. 

Yes and then the gifting ML with the male porcelain doll.. What's supppsed to mean.. As a token for ML to not forget him?? Luckily ML's insight was excellent. Better had a clean break, and return all the dolls to QH. 

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3 hours ago, ForgottenSoulx said:

People act like all women were second class yet there are loads of example's of women going over men like Princess general's and empresses taking control of kingdom's etc.. yet a concubine daughter being a steward is to much? 

I think you’re not understanding some of us comments here since you’re viewing this drama from 21st century younger westerner point of view.  You need to have exposure and knowledge to Chinese history, culture, traditional beliefs, and literature to be able to get some of the details and nuisances that this drama is trying to portray. 

Yes, there has been women generals, Empress Dowager Regents and even female emperor Wu Zitien (Tang dynasty) in Chinese history but those women were only a handful and they’re representative of only the most privileged class of women. They do not represent most Chinese women in ancient China. Women rights and freedom even varies among different dynasties and kingdoms and among different classes. What we’re seeing in this drama supposedly represent second class females (first class being imperial females) in Northern early Song Dynasty. Tang Dynasty was golden age of women rights and freedom and most of those famous women in history like Emperor Wu came from this Dynasty. Women rights in early Song Dynasty supposedly better though not as free as Tang. With wide spread acceptance of Neo-Confucianism, women rights and freedom have declined in Song later. The period that this drama is based on widows can remarry, women can request mutual separation ho li from their husband and can remarry (ML’s cousin, Shu Lan got ho li from Sun Shu Caí and later remarried in the book) and can own properties. In later Song, Ming dynasty, widows remarrying was looked down upon, and she could not keep her dowries and late husband’s properties if remarried and women cannot own any properties in Qing dynasty. Getting divorced (Sho Shu) vs mutual separation (Ho Li) have huge difference since women cannot remarry and had to live in shame if she got Sho Shu from her husband. Men can divorce women based on seven factors including not being filial to in-laws, not being able to have children, being jealous by not allowing men to have concubines even if she doesn’t want to leave him. That’s why Shulan’s family was dead set on getting her Ho Li letter instead even in the expense of her Dowry. If she gets Sho Shu, not only she has to live in shame, her sisters and even paternal female cousins will have a hard time getting proper marriages and her paternal family members including brothers will be looked down upon. In some dynasties, women cannot get Ho Li from despicable husbands and had to live in mesery at their husbands’ home. 

 

You can read basic ancient Chinese women rights 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_ancient_and_imperial_China  

 

I'm NOT saying drama has to reflect accurately of Song dynasties rules. What I was commenting before was there are inconstistencies between scenes regards to permitted conducts of women, separation of women and men, women status, women and their family reputation while emphasizing on theme that women life being difficult because of those societal rules. I would not care or notice these details if drama is not stressing on those societal rules.

Being shu and youngest daughter, ML would not have become steward in aristrocratic Sheng family in any dynasty of ancient China. It would have been Rulan who is managing if help is really needed from daughter. WS and her father could have sold shu daughter off if they needed money in that society. So, do you think she would be given the most important position in back compound?

 

Of course, everyone has right to their own opinion. This is just a drama and we’re not living in Song Dynasty after all. For me, I'm watching this drama not just for fun but for cultural and literary experiences as my Mandarin is not good enough to read the novel (it will be very slow) and audio book is a bit boring to focus (my understanding of Mandarin is best when I read chinese subtitle when listening to conversations). So, inconstistency of script and out of place scene in drama get my attention. 

 

I did not care about historical and societal inaccuracies in Legend of Luzhen (another ZLY's drama) as I already know that there is no real female prime minister Lu Zhen exists and the actual women they're referencing is wet-nurse of Emperor and he honored her like his mother and that was the reason she was able to influence the court politics. 

 

Spoiler

They should have that middle divider curtain in the middle since they started showing adult actors in class. They started putting it in only after Kong Momo left and girls returned to class. Actually, girls should have stopped going to class if there are non-relative males after they turned 12-13 (In the book, QH’s mom hinted to teacher Zhaung that it was inappropriate as Molan and Rulan already old enough 12-13 and they stopped) but I accept that drama needs male female interactions and being in same classroom reduce wasting additional resources for needing to create their interaction scenes in somwhere else. Molan serving tea to QH in the living room also raised alarm in my head. She is supposed to stay with other females behind the divider and it is not her place to serve tea and showing her face as unmarried upper class female. When QH went to women area behind divider in the living room after he lost his handkerchief and later sit there, I was like what? It is not acceptable for visitor non-relative male to sit in female area behind the curtain. I just told myself it might be ok because the dad is there. Big Madam berrated and punished CF for bringing outside male to back compound when he brought store buyers to help Lin Yiniang rid of accusation of cheating with that guy. 

 I was surprised when Dr. He was allowed at grandmom's place Shou An Tang in the back compound. He was allowed because he was a doctor?  In gathering in Gu fu in epi 27, men are coming into back compound where females are sitting and eating though they did not show male and female sitting together. Molan going into QH's and Liang designated place without her brother or WS accompanying her, making poetry with them, talking with Liang Liu alone away from her family area (even if her maid is around) did not cause gossip but ML playing Polo with QH along with three other pairs on her own horse out in the open under the eyes of everyone caused bad reputation??? Although ML rebutted that Molan talking to Lian was bad, she was not punished and nobody else mentioned about it. I understand that the writers think that they need to create a few meetings between Molan and Liang Liu in order for her to scheme him later as viewers might not get why could she scheme a guy and make him marry her if she did not impress him before and he has no interest in her. However, they could have included CF in Molan and Liang Liu scenes at Polo game in order to avoid inconsistences. 

 

Although I mentioned before I understand QH's action in helping ML at Polo was justifiable as he was so in love and he thought his parents would approve of him marrying her if gossips come out. Technically, they could not have played together as WS would have stopped them playing together since she is the main mother and she is supposed to protect the girls' and family reputation. ML is technically her daughter and ML's bad reputation of trying to get marriage above her station is same as her face getting slapped and spitted. The gossip would not only effect ML but also all Sheng's sisters (that's what Kong Momo mentioned when she was disciplining them and ML's conversation with QH about why she cannot gamble her reputation and be cautious as a girl's bad reputation will effect whole family and even married sisters).

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, zenya22 said:

@m0us3y

 

It seems basing on this drama based on the Song Dynasty,  the role of women in society changed in the Song Dynasty as we see in the drama? 

 

Nice one @zenya22. I've suspected that the embroidery was from Tang Dynasty but you've confirmed that. So thanks! 

 

I've read before that of all dynasties in China, Tang was one of the more progressive and liberal. It was also known as the golden age of China. It was a time where women had more freedom and rights, and a time where different religions are practised and accepted in general, although Taoism was the official religion. 

It's also the Dynasty where literature and poets soar. A few of the most well known poets are from this time. 

 

However, in Song Dynasty, neo-Confucianism became a dominant belief, it has been argued that the rise of neo-Confucianism had also led to a decline of the status of women. From the Song dynasty onwards, restrictions on women became more pronounced. 

Chastity for women were placed of higher importance and the gap between male and female became more pronounced. 

As such, in that time, the status of women has actually moved backwards. This continues on until the Qing Dynasty. 

http://www.followcn.com/women/2018/06/18/status-of-women-in-song-dynasty/

 

As the show is set in Song Dynasty, which is the Dynasty right after Tang, I can see why they emphasize that it's not easy to be women in that time. Because they would have learned about Tang Dynasty days, but from Song Dynasty onwards, the gap between men and women just got bigger over time, and women lost more rights over time. 

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1 hour ago, leeza77 said:

Yes and then the gifting ML with the male porcelain doll.. What's supppsed to mean.. As a token for ML to not forget him?? Luckily ML's insight was excellent. Better had a clean break, and return all the dolls to QH. 

My thoughts too. 

And that's why the more thoughts I put into it, the more I see QH as a wet blanket or pathetic if he really ended up pining for her his entire life. 

 

His arrogance and ignorance earlier is arguably due to his very privileged background and upbringing. 

But now, knowing he will marry another, what's the reason for him still approaching her and giving her the doll? 

 

Whether he was hoping for her to keep him in her heart forever with the dolls as reminder? Hoping for ML to accept to be his concubine because he loves her? Or hoping for ML to wait for him indefinitely? 

Either of the answers above seems really selfish to me. 

 

He cant get her. He's sad. Shouldn't be at least hope she can get her happiness elsewhere?

But it seems like he can't get her. He's sad. So she should be sad with him. 

Or perhaps he thinks only he is capable of giving her happiness? If so, that's arrogance at its worst....

 

I emphatise with his circumstances. I feel sorry for his situation. But I cannot, for the life of me understand his actions...not in the name of love. 

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5 hours ago, Golden Flower said:

Do you mean those viewers dropped because “ML was NOT GTY’s first and only”? You forgot to put “not”? 

 

Those viewers might be middle and high school teenagers without life experiences  who are naive like QH :D  expecting Cinderella story. 

 

In accordance with society that time, even QH should have at least 1-2 tongfan maid though novel did not mention. (QH was not mentioned much even as CB in the novel). :P :P 

 

I do not understand why Chinese drama viewers fair better with emperors having many wives and concubines but not with regular males having concubines. I get that even with emperors, some viewers still want loving only one girl though they might have many feis and sleeping with them as long as it is not shown on screen. 

 

I think in '09, FSF was in the drama "four women conflict" in which he has three wives (main wife and two concubines) as well as a woman he is flirting with. Ady An played third wife whom he actually fell in love and married in as concubine (ZLY also played a small character as  maid of first wife). I wonder how international audience and younger viewers respond that drama back then. (I haven't really watched it as it seems super tragic and cliche being Yuzheng’s writing. Only read review and seen clips on youtube). 

 

 

Yes men in that period could have many women even before marriage, but you can see from the drama that none of them had illegitimate children  before getting married, to be exact none of them had eldest children born from a concubine. That was considered shameful and will lessen his marriage potential to a woman with status. Moreover when GTY was looking for a wife earlier in the drama, his goal was to find someone who would treat his concubine right. He had no rights to ask such a thing from his main wife and her family. He was selfish, disrespect, ignorant and shameless. That was no action coming from a gentlemen with dignity, nor it was fit for someone of his education background and his status of aristocracy. The fact that that girl was not the main lead didn't stop me from feeling angry for her. He left a very bad first impression so no wonder he is being criticized by viewers.

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@ForgottenSoulx I like feisty females too. Can't say the same about arrogant males. :lol: 

Lol. Which is why I liked QH earlier, he's such a gentleman! Although I disagree with his actions, I can understand them (due to his background). 

But now that I've got some opportunity to look back and reflect on the earlier and recent episodes, there's a bit of underlying arrogance. Indirectly. And I can't say I like what I'm seeing. 

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3 hours ago, zenya22 said:

@m0us3yI was just searching online about the Tang Dynasty, the one that preceded, the Song Dynasty, the dynasty where the picture of the princess embroidered by ML's mom and given to GTY, the princess general. http://www.womenofchina.cn/womenofchina/html1/people/history/7/7448-1.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Zetian#Early_reign

 

Some excerpts: "Tang women had the chance to learn history, politics, and military skills.  At the founding of this dynasty, Women of the royal family were not subject to marital restrictions or constraints either. From the reign of Emperor Gaozong to that of Emperor Suzong during the early and middle Tang Dynasty, there were altogether 98 princesses, of which 61 married, among whom 24 remarried, and four married three times. This trend shook the very foundations of traditional feudal ethics. Living within a relaxed social environment, and having an independent social status, the behavior of well-educated Tang women was obviously quite different from that of the women of former dynasties. They could drink wine to the limit of their capacity, and sing loudly in taverns; gallop through the suburbs with abandon; or even compete with men on the polo field. In the Tang Dynasty, women conducted social activities and carried on business independently. They even distinguished themselves within the political and military arena."

 

"The ultimate Tang Dynasty woman was undoubtedly Wu Zetian. There were altogether 243 emperors during the 2,000 years from the beginning of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1911), and Wu Zetian was the only female monarch among them. Wu Zetian was the most legendary and controversial figure in Chinese history. She lived to be 82, and held power for 50 years.

During Wu Zetian's reign, the achievements of her predecessors were carried forward and further developed, eventually bringing the Tang Dynasty to the peak of its Kaiyuan splendor. Within the Tang Dynasty's centuries-long prosperity, 50 years can be accredited to Wu Zetian. It was the Tang Dynasty that created Empress Wu Zetian, and this indomitable woman reciprocated by devoting her life and energies to her people."

 

It seems basing on this drama based on the Song Dynasty,  the role of women in society changed in the Song Dynasty as we see in the drama? 

 

 

Yes. From what I have read up (about women's freedom in the Tang Dynasty) it appears that in the dynasty following right after, there was almost a kind of reining in of women; they were seen to have had too much freedom and were going against Confucian law so society began to repress them again. It is quite sad because in all Chinese history, it seems, the women of the Tang Dynasty had it the best. It was a good time to be a woman, if ever in ancient China. 

 

Edit: I just caught up to everyone else's response and see that you already got your answer :)

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I am glad the drama moved on from Qi Heng and Ming Lan's idealistic romance. Ming Lan's grandmother warned her of falling into romance novel fantasy as she knew that Qi Heng will never be able to defy his mother.

 

Both Qi Heng and Ming Lan made a decision to call it quits and I am looking forward to seeing how Gu Ting Ye is going to charm Ming Lan to be his wife.

 

As Ming Lan explained that Brother He who grew up without a father but under a very strong willed grandmother understand the restriction women likewise Gu Ting Ye also understand a woman standing in their society. Gu Ting Ye has set his own household already so Ming Lan is free to run his household without any restriction as there isn't any in-laws in the picture.

 

On the Tang dynasty Emperor and Yang Guifei, it depicts like that Tang Emperor Qi Heng will be unable to protect Ming Lan as Yang Guifei became the scapegoat for his failure and she had to commit suicide.

 

I believe Ming Lan next concentration is her revenge on Concubine Lin as the physician explained that her mother need not die at all. Ming Lan's mother could have delivered her son safely if it wasn't for Concubine Lin's evil plan.

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I don’t think the point of the show is to say gty is the best guy or even a better guy than qh. But gty  is because of many fsctors including his personality and experience the better guy for ml. And that is what really matters.

gty is a flawed character, in the book ml is a flawed character (here she is not until now) but they worked in the end.

I also think the show makes gty better but it does this even with qh. In the book qh is not really important. I would say they are changing a little the characterization of ml, gty and qh. But I like this more 

ps I agree feisty heroines/rich guys are the best.

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55 minutes ago, Jackie1048 said:

On the Tang dynasty Emperor and Yang Guifei, it depicts like that Tang Emperor Qi Heng will be unable to protect Ming Lan as Yang Guifei became the scapegoat for his failure and she had to commit suicide.

 

Hi @Jackie1048
Sorry to cut your post. I was just wondering what you meant by this paragraph above.
Is Qi Heng going to become the next emperor? Why does Ming Lang need his protection? 
What about Yang Guifei's committing suicide?

Is this the story related to this drama?

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8 minutes ago, dancingbee said:

Hi @Jackie1048
Sorry to cut your post. I was just wondering what you meant by this paragraph above.
Is Qi Heng going to become the next emperor? Why does Ming Lang need his protection? 
What about Yang Guifei's committing suicide?

Is this the story related to this drama?

There's a scene where ML and GTY spoke, which compares the relationship of QH/ML with that of Emperor Tang/Yang Gui Fei. 

And ML acknowledged she was being stupid. I guess she acknowledged that the QH and her was never meant to be. 

It's in episode 28. 

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