Chinese Drama Review: Clothing the World/Tian Ya Zhi Nu

clothing_the_world

Also known as “A Weaver on the Horizon,” Clothing the World is a historical fiction drama about a figure in history who made significant contributions to the world of clothing/textiles. I was pleasantly surprised at this drama. It was very well made and well executed and kept me hooked until the very end, which is something I can’t say of many 35+ long dramas, historical or otherwise.

Ratings out of 10:

Acting: 8

Storyline/plot: 8

Plot Development: 5

Characters: 9

Music: 7

Ending: 6

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Acting and Characters

Janine Chang played the main character, Huang Qiao Er. I immediately took a liking to her because she looked and acted so much like one of my favorite Korean celebrities, Lee Min Jung. Now, I will admit that she was a little better of an actress than is Lee Min Jung, but she’s not much better. I thought Chang did a good job with her character in this drama, but  I also thought it could have been better. Her character was easy to like.

Yuan Hong played another main character, Lin Mu Fei. I will admit–I started watching this drama because he was in it. I’m currently making my way through “Legend of the Condor Heroes” and Yuan Hong’s performance in that drama, so far, is nothing special. So, when I saw him in this drama as a different sort-of character, I was interested to see if he would act any better. And, he really did. His performance in “Clothing the World” was very good. He played the role of stoic general whose first priority is to protect his country while also fending off love very well. In the last ten or so episodes of the drama, his character began to annoy me, but other than that, I liked his character.

Liu Shi Shi played Princess Zhao Jia Yi. This role seemed to be made for Liu Shi Shi. The character was a spoiled brat for most of the series and Liu Shi Shi played this role very well. It’s too bad that Liu Shi Shi seems to play her roles in all dramas much like this one, even if her character is not supposed to be a spoiled brat. And if she can’t get away with that, she resorts to a very dull performance, like that of her character’s in “Legend of the Condor Heroes.” So, while Liu Shi Shi did well in her role in this drama, I’m still not convinced that she’s altogether a very good actress. Although the princess was annoying throughout the whole drama, her character added some color to the drama.

Edwin Siu played Fang Ning, the man who forever had a one-sided crush on our heroine. I was impressed with his performance. When he starts out, he’s just a lovesick puppy without any real depth to him, but then when an unfortunate event happens, he transforms into someone who seems to be very pathetic. In this stage, Siu really makes you feel sorry for, but also dislike his character. Then, when more unfortunate events happen, Siu’s character transforms slowly into the man that he once was. Out of all the characters in this drama, Fang Ning’s had the most growth, and his growth was only visible because of the great performance of Edwin Siu. Fang Ning’s character irritated me for much of the drama, but at the same time, I understood what he was feeling, so I didn’t dislike his character. I think the writers did a great job writing this character.

Amy Chan played Qiao Er’s teacher, Rong Xiu Man. She also did a good job, but she didn’t have as much to work with as the other actors. Her character’s peak growth is seen within the first few episodes, and then she settles in to just being a teacher who will do anything to make sure her students are safe. Amy Chan was very convincing in this role.

Xu Qi Wen played another main character and the best friend of Qiao Er. I was surprised at Xu’s performance in this drama. The only other drama I’ve seen her in is “Palace,” and she did that horrible drama no favors with her acting. Her acting in this drama, in some ways, was similar, but perhaps it’s because her character had more depth that she was able to do something more with it. She plays the “ambitious woman” role very well, but I also thought that the many times Xu’s character was brought back down to reality, Xu acted her character accordingly.

Zheng Guo Lin played Fang Ning’s older brother, Fang Bao. Fang Bao’s character was very simple-minded, and never really changed throughout the drama, so Zheng wasn’t given much to go off of, but he did a good job with what he had. I thought he was very convincing in his role.

The other actors in “Clothing the World,” such as the concubines, the weaver girls, and the emperor, all did a fairly good job. I can’t pick out one of them whose acting stood out, but I also can’t pick out one whose acting was atrocious.

Plot and Plot Development

Initially, the plot of this drama intrigued me. Besides Yuan Hong, I wanted to watch it because if was about a real-life person who really did bring about changes in China’s textile industry. Although there was never a boring episode in the drama, I was disappointed that it didn’t seem to focus enough on how Qiao Er transformed the textile industry. Only during the last few episodes was this crammed in, and even then, we didn’t fully get to see what she did. Much of the drama was just based around her married life and struggles, and while that’s all good and fine, I didn’t like waiting and waiting for something to happen with her skills as a weaver.

So, all-in-all, while the drama did keep me interested in watching, it wasn’t what I was expecting based upon what I had read about it. Oh, and don’t let anybody tell you this is a romance drama. On Dramawiki, its genre is listed as “romance.” But, there’s romance for maybe ten (and that’s only in the beginning of the drama) out of the thirty-six episodes, and even then, the romantic scenes are pretty scarce in these episodes. I didn’t think the lack of romance took away from the drama in any way, I just don’t want you to be disappointed if that’s why you’re going to watch this drama.

Music

The music was good. There were a few piano and violin pieces that really fit well with the tone of the scenes in which they were played, but there were also a few songs that didn’t fit very well, which is why I only gave the music a 7. No vocal tracks was also a plus.

Ending

The ending was okay. The part I liked the most about it was that it tied up all loose ends. We discovered what happened to all the characters we cared about and saw how they get on with their lives. The part I didn’t like was that it seemed rushed when it came to how Qiao Er revolutionized the textile industry.

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Overall Rating out of 10: 7.2

 

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