As with many historical movies, there were many inconsistencies (which Directors like to call Creative Licences, but really, when you have documentation, you don’t need to take creative licences!). First, the metal nail extensions worn by the Empress Phoenix (Li Gong) became popular 600 years after the time the story is set in. Also, the plate armour worn by the men was never popular in China; they preferred scale armour, coat of plates or lamellar armour. The architecture is reminiscent of the Ming Dynasty’s Forbidden City. Finally, I have doubts about the women’s cleavage showing so much, but maybe that is just me.
Now let’s look at a few of these incredible costumes, shall we?
Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)
And just to compare, here in a painting from roughly the same time period; it is from the Tang Dynasty, but two centuries before the time when the movie is set.Beauties Wearing Flowers, by Zhou Fang, 8th century
I guess it’s just like with Western Medieval movies: they always feel the need to make the costumes more pleasant to the modern eye. But still, these costumes are amazing.
Costumes for this movie were designed by Chung Man Yee, which got him an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Costume Design.