Showing posts tagged Air Nomads

Yang Chen’s Statue at the Eastern Air Temple

Look, they restored her. With some little changes.

Unalaq, what have you unleashed?

Some interesting things to notice:

Let’s start with that the spirit Tonraq angers looks vastly different than the angry spirits we encounter in the SWT. The one angered by the flooding of the forest have more definition, more detail. The ones we see in the SWT are less detailed, more shadowy. 

Secondly, if the spirits are angry that the spirit-portal is blocked, why are they trying to stop Korra from opening it? Shouldn’t they encourage/help her? Especially if that is the statue of the first Avatar, and they are connected to her. 

Now it gets really interesting: The markings on the totem pole? match the facial markings of the angry spirits, implying a connection between the statue and the angry spirits.

Further, the helix around the statue matches the ones Unalaq conjures. 

For me all of this begs the questions of whether that statue is benevolent, miss-used or evil and if those are actually spirits, or something else? 

And if Unalaq conjured/summoned those angry spirits, why does he want Korra to open the spirit-portal? 

And is thing going to get as debunked as my Energybending theory?

The Southern Air Temple - Longmen Grottos

At the Southern Air Temple we see, at the airball field, window-like structures carved into the mountain. Those windows are not part of a housing complex, they contain Buddha statues and are a reference to the Longmen Grottoes in Henan province, continuing the Air Nomads — Buddhist Monks parallel. 

The Longmen Grottoes  龙门石窟 (Dragon’s Gate Grottoes) are one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are as many as 100,000 statues within the 1,400 caves, ranging from an 1 inch (25 mm) to 57 feet (17 m) in height. The area also contains nearly 2,500 stelae and inscriptions, whence the name “Forest of Ancient Stelae”, as well as over sixty Buddhist pagodas.

Also: Another dragon joke.

Air Bending: Fighting

All Bending Arts in ATLA contain defensive and offensive moves:

When Aang fights with Hi De, On Ji’s boyfriend, he defends himself using Ba Gua Zhang i.e. Wu  Dang style martial arts. This style is famous for its ‘circle walking’ i.e. avoiding the opponents strikes by staying behind their back. Aang demonstrates it rather well in the gifs.

The Bending Arts: Airbending

Airbending is based on Ba Gua Zhang

Bāguàzhǎng is one of the three main Chinese martial arts of the Wudang school, the other two being Taijiquan and Xingyiquan. It is more broadly grouped as an internal practice (or neijia gong). Bāguà zhǎng literally means “eight trigram palm,” referring to the trigrams of the Yijing (I Ching), one of the canons of Taoism.[1]

Look, it’s the creators talking:

The Walls of Ba Sing Se and the (historic) Sinocentric World Perception

"This is why I never came here before. I’ve heard it was so different from the way the monks taught us to live" -Aang

The Walls of Ba Sing Se are a physical representation of the Sinocentric system (see picture above).

The Sinocentric system was a hierarchical system of international relations that prevailed until the end of Imperial China. It established Imperial China as the center of the world and civilization, and the Emperor as the lawful and legitimate ruler of the whole world (lands all under heaven or 天下 tianxia).

Neighboring countries were categorized as varying degrees of civilized/ barbarian, depending on their proximity, relations to and similarity to Imperial China itself. It defined Japan, Korea, the Ryūkyū Kingdom, and Vietnam as vassals of the Emperor of China (huangdi). 

Areas outside the Sinocentric influence were called Huawaizhidi (化外之地), meaning uncivilized lands.

The walls of Ba Sing Se, with their Agrarian Ring, Lower Ring, Middle Ring and Upper Ring and the corresponding class divide, reflect this world view.

Image source: One

Anonymous said: hi :) so i just discovered there was a dalai lama named tenzin gyatso. I was wondering if you knew of any similarities between jim and the characters named after him? thanks :)

The Air Nomads and the Avatar are a Tibet, Dalai Lama and Tibetan genocide parallel and commentary.

Naming Aang’s mentor Gyatso and his son Tenzin (after the Dalai Lama) was deliberate.

Click here for all my posts on the Air Nomads.

Praying at the Dinner Table

"We are grateful for this delicious food, for happiness and compassion…"

Yes, Tenzin was saying a blessing/prayer at the dinner table. Keep in mind that they live in a quasi monastery. They live on Air TEMPLE Island. Buddhist monks pray before eating.

And no, we never see Aang do this, but then we never really saw him eat at the flashbacks at the Air Temple.

Examples of a Thai monastery day: Click me!

More about the Air Nomads.

Airball - Overlap Between Airbending and Firebending


Airbending is based on bagua zhuang.

Bāguàzhǎng is one of the three main Chinese martial arts of the Wudang school, the other two being Taijiquan and Xingyiquan. … Bāguà zhǎng literally means “eight trigram palm,” referring to the trigrams of the Yijing (I Ching), one of the canons of Taoism.

The bagua, as a symbol, can also be seen as the mosaic on Air Temple island.

Baguazhang practitioners are known for their ability to “flow” in and out of the way of objects. … Baguazhang’s evasive nature is also shown by the practice of moving behind an attacker, so that the opponent cannot harm the practitioner.

These flowing movements can be seen in airbending, but also in Aang’s fighting style. Further it is a reference to the avoidant part of Aang’s character and his element i.e. like air that flows around an obstacle, Aang prefers to find another way, instead of facing the problem head on.

Airball and Firebending

The poles we see are not used in bagua zhuang, but in gongfu. Why is this interesting? Because firebending is based on Shaolin gongfu.

Firebending is based on Shaolin Gong Fu

Those who practice Shaolinquan leap about with strength and force; people not proficient at this kind of training soon lose their breath and are exhausted.

Of the multitude styles of kung fu and wushu, only some are actually related to Shaolin. Aside from a few very well known systems, such as Xiao Hong Quan, the Da Hong Quan, Yin Shou Gun, Damo Sword, etc. after the loss of records during the 20th Century Cultural Revolution it would be almost impossible for a particular style to conclusively establish a connection to the Temple.

I find the last sentence interesting, since both, Fire Nation Firebending and Gongfu have lost their connection to their source.

Now what could that mean?

What we have here is an overlap in martial arts styles in the bending arts.

Well, a simple explanation would be a goof, but if you want you could read deeper meaning into it: The overlap between bending Uncle mentions (Him learning from the waterbenders) and the deeper interconnection between the elements.

Image source: One

More: Greetings and shows of respect in ATLA



Air Temple Island

The mosaic we see on the left hand side is laid out in the shape of a bagua.

The bagua 八卦 literally “eight symbols”) are eight diagrams used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either “broken” or “unbroken,” representing yin or yang, respectively. Due to their tripartite structure, they are often referred to as “trigrams” in English.They are related to taiji philosophy and the wu xing, or “five elements”.The relationships between the trigrams are represented in two arrangements, the Primordial (先天八卦), “Earlier Heaven”[2] or “Fuxi” bagua (伏羲八卦), and the Manifested (後天八卦), “Later Heaven,”[2] or “King Wen” bagua.

The ancient Chinese classic I Ching consists of the 64 possible pairs of trigrams (called “hexagrams”) and commentary on them.

The gate to the island is a paifang.

牌坊 Paifang originally was a collective term used to describe the top two levels of administrative division and subdivisions of ancient Chinese city. The largest division within a city in ancient China was a Fang (坊), equivalent to current day precinct. Each fang was enclosed by walls or fences, and the gates of these enclosure were shut and guarded every night. Each fang was further divided into several Pai (牌; literally “placard”), which is equivalent to current day (unincorporated) community. Each pai in turn, contained an area including several hutongs (alleyways). This system of urban administrative division and subdivision reached an elaborate level during Tang Dynasty, and was remained in the following dynasties. For example, during Ming Dynasty, Beijing was divided into a total of 36 fangs. Originally, the word paifang was used as a term to describe the gate of a fang and the marker for an entrance of a building complex or a town; but by the Song Dynasty, a paifang had evolved into a purely decorative monument.

From the Official Nick Page

Are there any surviving Air Nomads? Is Chong an Air Nomad?

The Air Nomads and their genocide are based on, and a commentary on, the genocide of the Tibetans. Read the blog entries about this: One, two, three.

In canon we never really find out if there are any survivors of the genocide, but look at the hippies:

Chong is wearing something resembling traditional Tibetan clothes.Compare the off-the-shoulder sleeve that is a prominent feature of traditional Tibetan clothing.

Does this mean there was a population of the Air Nomads that did not live in the temples? Or that Chong and his people are descendents of Air Nomads that survived?

This seems a bit too coincidental, especially taking the pointed conversation Aang and Chong have about being nomads into consideration.

Note: all Air Nomads WERE benders. It has been 100 years. There is no saying what happened to any that survived, or that Chong is even 100% Air Nomad. Keeping your culture when hiding/escaping being massacred is kinda hard. Who knows how much of that survived if they had to hide their bending abilities, and how quickly bending teaching would get lost if that was the case.

That, or he’s an appropriating ass :P