Friday: Steampunk World: Multicultural Influences

When we think about summer we often think about deserts, desserts, wild adventures, horseback races, insurmountable heat, and robots.

Wait…robots? Yes, Robots!
While most of us may believe that the robot revolution–I beg your pardon, the Automaton Assembly–began during the Renaissance period in Europe, a brilliant fellow named al-Jazari would like to set the record straight. This fellow basically invented everything, including the predecessor to flushing toilets, music boxes, Chobits (metal maids), and most importantly, what could arguably have been the first computer-operated musician. He designed dozens of amazing inventions and self-illustrated them in his Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices. His crown achievement for our purposes was a life sized boat filled with mechanical musicians whose tunes could be altered by moving pegs around to change water flow.

Take that, pooping duck from France.

Our distractions aside, Steampunk is, by and large, treated as a Victorian (and thus, British) affair. However, it has taken the world by storm of late, and perhaps brought some amazing history into light that otherwise might not have been explored. That aside, here is a really cool website with some great information about the era’s patterns in some Asian countries. If only I could sew!

Chun Hui, Imperial Concubine of the Qing Dynasty

We’re taking a trip to Japan in July, and will be gone from July 3-19. I’ll have automated posts during that time, but one of the things we are really excited about seeing is this:

Hayao Miyazaki's Really Big Clock

In front of Nippon Television Tower rests this huge 10 meter tall clock. We’re thinking about bringing our goggles to get a picture from below with the clock behind us. Leave it to Miyazaki to be eccentric enough for an amazing clock like this!But if you want to talk about the original Tokyo Watchmaker, this guy Haruo Suekichi makes beautiful pieces and has been for many years.

If you’re interested in building a Japan-inspired Steampunk costume, here’s a great blog post by somebody else that really has fun with the idea.

We’re really excited about our trip, and bringing back Steampunk news from the country notorious for amazing costumes. In the mean time, if you haven’t seen Last Exile, check it out! I’ve also seen a manga in Barnes and Noble lately, Black Butler, that looks very Steampunk. I might have to pick some up soon!

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