Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Aloha to JeannIe Lin and THE LOTUS PALACE

Today I welcome Jeannie Lin with a special guest post to celebrate the upcoming release of THE LOTUS PALACE.

The Lotus Palace: Elements of Tang Dynasty Style

Thank you SOS Aloha for having me!

THE LOTUS PALACE, which releases on 8/27, centers around the pleasure house culture of the Pingkang li where scholars and bureaucrats mingled with elegant courtesans.

In the book, the heroine Yue-ying, is a maidservant to one of the infamous beauties of the quarter and thus spends a good amount of time dressing her mistress and tending to her boudoir. So I thought it might be fun to provide a quick primer on ladies fashion in the Tang Dynasty.


Hanfu robe – Not to be mistaken for the Japanese counterpart, the kimono. In fact, the kimono came from the Chinese hanfu, which was the clothing worn by the Han people. Ladies’ robes ranged from the simple to the elaborate, layered look favored by court ladies. The cloth was meant to flow like water as the women moved.

Shawl/scarf – The hanfu is often accompanied by either long sleeves or a long shawl or scarf made from a light gauze. This added to the sense of movement and you can see it used to dramatic effect by dancers of the period.
Hair and makeup:

Elaborate hairstyle – The Tang Dynasty was known for all sorts of chignons, loops, buns and knots to create extra height and volume. Bigger was definitely better.

Hair ornaments – The elaborate hairstyles were usually adorned with hair ornaments. Flowers were common as well as ornaments made of jade meant to catch the eye.

Makeup – There is an elaborate make-up ritual described which describes how to powder the face and draw in eyebrows as well as create accents over the cheeks and forehead. Lip gloss or lip color was very popular in the Tang Dynasty. The lips would be covered with a powder and then drawn in according to whatever pattern was popular at the time. Apparently there were over 30 popular patterns in the last 17 years of the Tang Dynasty.

Unbound feet – Shapely, elegant feet were always popular, but Tang Dynasty women did not bind their feet. This came about in a later dynasty and even then, it wasn’t a universal practice. I just had to add that, since it’s been a bone of contention!

Comment to win an autographed copy of THE LOTUS PALACE along with a traditional Chinese hairpin. (which features prominently in the story!) 

Find Jeannie online:

Website: jeannielin.com

Like my Facebook page: link

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/JeannieLin

THE LOTUS PALACE, a historical romance and murder mystery set in the Tang Dynasty, releases on 8/27/2013. A clever maidservant teams up with the notorious playboy and failed scholar of the Pingkang li to solve the crime, but can they defy the bonds of class and culture to find love and happiness?

Amazon:  Link

B&N:  Link

FREE READ! You can also get a peek into the pleasure quarter in the introductory short novella, CAPTURING THE SILKEN THIEF.  Free from 8/25 to 9/7 on Amazon and B&N.
Amazon - link

 B&N - link

Mahalo, Jeannie, for joining us today.   Comments are open through Saturday, August 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Check out my pictures from our recent trip to China on my travel blog, ALOHA ON MY MIND, at this link.  Scroll down to Blog Archive, click on June, and look for posts from Beijing and Xi'an. 


  1. Hi Kim!
    Thanks for having me on the blog. I just wanted to stress that the free read promotion for "Capturing the Silken Thief" doesn't start until 8/25.

    Also I loved the pictures of Korea and China! I went to the DMZ when I was working in S. Korea, but the day I went, the ride or car or whatever it is that takes you down into the tunnel was broken. Still a great visit.

    And Xi'an was Changan during the Tang Dynasty, the capital city where The Lotus Palace is set! It was a cosmopolitan city even back then (being a terminal of the Silk Road as you mentioned), with a concentration of foreigners living in the western part of the city. Take me with you next time, please!

  2. Hi Kim
    This book seems fascinating to read. I am always curious to discover other cultures and their history. THE LOTUS PALACE looks like the perfect read! The Chinese hair pin is so delicate and beautiful! thank you Jeannie for this giveaway!

    1. As I mentioned on FB, you may be getting something in the mail soon. Takes a bit longer internationally

  3. One of my cousins took a trip along the Silk Road. I've seen a few Chinese historical TV dramas where the hairpin was used as a weapon.

    1. My dream trip *sigh*

      I may have seen some of the same dramas

  4. Sounds very interesting. I like all the info regarding fashion. I didn't know about the kimono having evolved from the Chinese Hanfu robe. Thanks for all the info!

  5. I'm Chinese but give me a comfy tee + shorts anytime :p

    I'm curious about the lip patterns; I've never heard of that before. That hairpin is so pretty but looks like it could double for a weapon!

  6. A wonderful post thank you. The hairpin is very beautiful. Lethal looking too.

  7. Love the hair pin! This book sounds good...I've never read a book in this time period.

    1. Thank you for commenting. The Tang Dynasty is a very intriguing period. A little something for everyone - glamor, intrigue, poetry

  8. I would like to travel and take more vacations which we plan to do once our youngest graduates from college.

    1. Me too! Until then, I have to live vicariously though photos like Kim's

  9. I have read books set here before and this one looks fascinating.

    1. So good to hear! I'm always looking for books set in China

  10. I read your other books with Chinese settings and loved it! :) Pretty hair pins and dresses! :)

  11. That was all very informative and fascinating. Glad to know about the feet binding - I recently read a story that it was explained in detail and it was a lot worse than I thought.

  12. Love a mystery in an exotic setting. Thanks for the giveaway and great information. Like catslady, am relieved that foot binding was not then the norm.

  13. Sounds like a great story. I love learning more about different cultures, especially pertaining to the arts.

  14. I love a good hairpin. Such a shame people don't wear them anymore!

  15. I always thin of make-up as a modern creation so it is interesting to see that it was so important to women so many years ago.

  16. Wow! I enjoyed this. This book sounds fantastic. Thank you for the giveaway!