THE YOUNG OFFICIAL AND HER VISIT TO A NEW LAND By: Libby Dotson
She got off of her hardy horse and stepped onto the moist green grass thatwas so very different from her home country in Karakorum. Khutlunun had finally arrived to the new capitol Beijing from the old capitol of the Mongolian empire Karakorum.
It was the rule of the Chengzong because the great Kublai Khan, who had founded the Yuan dynasty of China, was now dead.
She was KHUTULUN, also called the shining moon. She was the niece ofKublai khan, the founder of the Mongolian Yuan dynasty in China. She wasstrong, beautiful and powerful. She was a military trained woman who was afraid of absolutely nothing.
Her uncle had recently passed away and she was finally relocating to the newcapital of the empire, much to her disdain. She would have much rather stayed in the simple but resourceful Karakorum.
She had heard many tales of this new capitol and its extravagance and beauty. She had also heard about the women living in this city and their oppressed lives. She had also been warned not to travel alone, however she compeltly disregarded that.
She had rode for days and days and was weary, smelly, and a little frazzled.Getting off her horse she approached the gates of the great city. The gatekeeper seeing her told her to be off, this greatly angered her and she stood their for many minutes arguing with him.
His fellow gate keeper (mind you they were both Chinese NOT Mongolian) was completely shell shocked that a women had the nerve to argue with a man! However she remained completely oblivious.
Finally after he realized who she was they let her through. They tried to takeher horse but she absolutely refused. She led her horse through the gates ofthe capitol Beijing, for some reason however she did not notice all the weird stares she was getting from people all around her.
Walking through the mighty capitol she was taken back. This was very different from Karakorum….
This city was extravagant and colorful. The towers, which were much moreelaborate and decorated then the tents of Karakorum, were tall and intricately designed. In the distance she could even see the tent of the ruling Khan, which was even more elaborate of a tent then what she was used to.
Vs.The thing that fascinated her the most, however, was the people of this city. The difference between the Chinese and the Mongolians was completely apparent to anyone who walked the streets of Beijing. Especially the difference between the women.
She knew that the Mongolians worked very hard to keep their culture separated from the ethnic Chinese, and now she knew why.
The women walking down the street looked so….delicate! Khutlulun wasdisgusted. They walked about with heavy and elaborate dresses, reserved and submissive to the man at their side. They even had a hard time walking, hobbling slowly down the street. “Why is that?” she thought.
She approached a fruit stand with an elderly ethnic Chinese man working. The surprise on his face that a women was actually approaching him wasevident. It was obvious that Mongolian women didn’t frequent this area often.
“How are you today,” Khutlunun saidWith surprise written all over his face he finally stumbled across the words, “Fine, what would you like”Khutlunun then went on to ask why the Chinese women were hobbling about so very timidly.He then preceded to explain about the practice of foot binding. At a young age the girls bind their feet because small feet are a sign of beauty.
Khutlunun took off down the street completely dismayed. She could not help but notice the oppression and angst on their faces. This was so very differentthen what she was used to in Karakorum, their women walked with heads held high, they walked with pride and power and confidence. “What a shame,” she thought.
It finally hit her how uneducated on other cultures she was. Her new goal was to learn all about the Chinese culture while living here. Even though it was forbidden to actually practice Chinese activities she was going to become educated on how they lived, and maybe even help their women find themselves some independence.
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