Saturday, September 20th, 2014

P’u Yi Owned The Color Yellow – In That Case I Claim Perriwinkle

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The Celestial Emperor.  The Lord of Ten Thousand Years.  The Enthroned One.  He Who is Above.  The Son of Heaven.  Big names for an almost-three year old.

P’u Yi, also known as all the names above, also known as Henry, ascended to the throne of China at 2 years and 10 months old.   Treated as a deity, had 200 chefs to cook his foods, over 100 doctors to attend to his ailments, and he kept himself surrounded by 1000 eunuchs.  The eunuchs were there to respond to his every whim, and sometimes he had them flogged for no good reason.

He was told by many that the color yellow belonged to him exclusively, and all his robes were yellow, as well as many of his chamber decorations.  Since he only spent his time behind the walls of The Forbidden City (he didn’t see his mother again until he was 10 years old), he had nobody to contest the theory that yellow was his color and his color only.

When he was seven years old, his brother and sister finally visited him in The Forbidden City.  Everything was fine and dandy until Henry spied his brother’s sleeve lining.  It looked a lot like yellow to him, so he totally freaked out on his brother, who replied respectfully that his sleeve lining was apricot.

Apparently there is a movie about all of this – I’m not sure if it covers the yellow-obsession part, but it can tell you the whole sad story of the last emperor of China.

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