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Imperial China

Most European audiences know this period from Oriental pop culture sources such as wuxia movies, or Japanese works such as the Dynasty Warriors series of games and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms anime, though most of these are based on much older Chinese novels, folk-stories and other source material.

Life in Imperial China, according to this view, apparently involved lots of politics and betrayal around the Emperor's solid gold palace, punctuated by battles featuring big hulky brocade-wearing brutes mowing down peasant soldiers by the thousands with their flashy musou attacks. When you met a fair maiden, either she was skilled enough with martial arts to kick your butt, or she was a supernatural creature in disguise.

See Dynasties From Shang To Qing for a history of this series of ages, and No More Emperors for what happened when the last of the Chinese Kingdoms and Empires fell in 1911.

Popular tropes from this time period are:

Chinese works set in this era:

  • Most wuxia books, films, TV series etc.




Live-Action TV

  • Most Chinese opera

Japanese works set in this era:

Anime and Manga

  • The Favorite by Inoue Yasushi is about Yang Guifei.

Live-Action TV
  • There have been at least two Japanese TV production of Journey to the West that use a relatively straight fantasy version of the setting. The 1978 version was dubbed by the BBC as Monkey.

Video Games

Western Works set in this era:



Live-Action TV
  • Some parts of the first Kung Fu TV series.

  • The stage play and later opera, Turandot.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Mulan, though it's based on a traditional Chinese folk-story.
    The Nostalgia Chick: Sure, let's go ahead and use the word 'honor' fifty times.
  • Two episodes of Histeria! were centered around China. Oddly enough, the show's resident Chinese character, Cho-Cho, barely appears in either episode.
  • Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, which is set during the Qing Dynasty.

Ancient GromeHollywood HistoryDynasties From Shang To Qing
Curse of the Golden FlowerImageSource/Live-Action FilmsDate Movie

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