Ep 10: 



The Longest Day in Chang An – ep 10


We are in episode 10 of The Tang Dynasty drama The Longest Day in Chang’An, or in mandarin, 长安十二时辰. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to reach out to us on instagram or twitter or else email us at karenandcathy@chasingdramas.com. As always, this podcast is in English with proper nouns and certain phrases spoken in Mandarin. Additionally, we reference translations from what is provided online and we’ll provide our own. 


Episode 9 was a bloody one where Cui Qi’s 旅奔军 finally arrive to attack the Wolf Squad and the poor members of the Blaze Gang were also caught in the crossfire. The result is that the wolf squad members were largely eliminated except for 曹破延 and 马格儿 who escaped by taking 闻染 hostage but pretended she was 王韫秀. Except the real 王韫秀 was abducted by the remaining members of the blaze gang. 



Episode 10 opens with long bo receiving news from 鱼肠 and a poor beggar that the wolf squad is over. That young beggar is definitely dead, look at the blood on the bowl. Speaking of, the bowl has the phrase 狼肉馅饺子 – or dumplings made with wolf filling. 龙波 reads this and understands that the wolf squad lair has been destroyed. He’s worried about this news because it means that their distraction is now no longer. Their current timeline has just been sped up. Long Bo ponders how the soldiers could have found the wolf squad lair so quickly. 鱼肠 is quick to pipe up that she has no idea about that house so as to steer clear of blame but then 龙波 highlights that the tablet from the prostitute was left by 鱼肠. That’s the only way the soldiers could have found the courtesan and then that property. 鱼肠 once again is quick to emphasize that she is useful to 龙波. Something that I cannot understand. In this entire drama, I feel like she is the most 恋爱脑 of this entire cast.



Let’s turn back to the wolf squad lair.  Cui Qi and the 旅奔军 are currently tallying up the dead. And right now it’s 崔器‘s ego that is at play. He knows that 曹破延 and 马格儿 escaped with supposedly the daughter of 王忠嗣 but it’s actually 闻染. However, instead of telling the truth, he tells the messenger to relay the message that they had a complete victory hoping to fix the problem before the truth gets out.  The victory message is yelled loudly back to 靖安司 where the rest of the staff and 李必 are quite ecstatic to hear the news. However, 李必 is quite careful and immediately instructs 檀棋 to validate the news that indeed all members of the wolf squad have been eliminated.


Out on the streets, disguised in masks, 麻格儿 and 曹破延 along with 闻染 are trying to sneak past the checkpoints set up to find them. 闻染 actually helps 麻格儿 and 曹破延 get through some guards by piping up with fake story mixed with reality. This scene for some reason was hilarious to me as these 3 wear these funny masks that completely undermine the tension between them as they figure out who to kill or not. At least for now, these 3 are working together to escape capture. 


檀棋 arrives at the abandoned house and, upon seeing 张小敬 who’s lying on the ground probably unconscious with the rest of the bodies, she sprints to check his heartbeat. As she’s lying on his chest, he instinctively hugs her, calls her 丫头 and tells her to hide behind him. This 丫头 is clearly referring to 闻染 but 檀棋 doesn’t know that. She slaps him for his impertinence only for him to finally come to. He says he wants to sleep a bit as he hurts everywhere and she finally realizes that he has severe injuries everywhere, and the gruesome injury of his missing finger. 



As 张小敬 sleeps, we are treated to another flashback. This time, it is finally showing what happened the day 闻无忌 was killed. 张小敬 returned to Chang An after going away for a month on a case. He is able to feel that something is off with 闻无忌 who just says he’s going out for a meeting. 张小敬 questions 闻染 for what’s been going on who finally spills that the Blaze Gang has been wreaking havoc on the neighborhood in order for them to move out so a diplomatic residence can be built. They wait for 闻无忌 to return only for him to collapse once he crosses into the threshold, mortally wounded, thus putting together more pieces to the puzzle that is the mystery of zhang xiao jing’s backstory.


Back in present day, zhang xiao jing wakes up in a side room to the pouring sunlight and finds Tan Qi watching over him. He grunts heavily while getting up and realizes that 檀棋 has helped him clean his wounds and put him in a fresh change of clothes. As she states, he now represents Jing An Si and therefore needs to look the part.


He orders her to grab his arm guards and she angrily asks if she’s his servant. He only chuckles and grunts to get up but she quickly goes to grab his arm guards for him. Clearly, she might be outwardly prickly, but she has a kind heart underneath. On his part, he was probably only teasing her or else not recognizing how his “order” would impact her and I feel like he was going to get up and grab the stuff himself.  They have a brief flirtatious interaction as he teases her for not recognizing her own capabilities. She’s a little flustered by his words but I’m sure she’s secretly pleased.  She informs him she’s here on behalf of 李必 to confirm that the wolf squad has indeed been eliminated.



The thing is, because this news traveled far and wide, now the office and court politics come back into play. 姚汝能 brings word back to 李必 from the Crown Prince himself that 李必 is to shut down 靖安司 and any other investigation today to accompany the crown prince in the palace for tonight’s festivities. Li bi is worried that without Tan Qi’s validation, there may have been escaped threats, as is the case. However, 姚汝能 amps up the pressure by stating that the news is already being carried by general Guo all the way to the Emperor. If they find any escaped members of the wolf squad, that could mean they were lying to the Emperor. A serious crime. 姚汝能 highlights that the Crown prince wants to think of a bigger picture rather than the smaller details of tonight while 李必 is still hoping to wait for Tan Qi. 


Elsewhere the Right Chancellor, 林九郎 has gather plenty of information. Not only is 张小敬 not dead by the Blaze Gang’s hands but they were victorious in eliminating the wolf squad. At first 林九郎 was quite ok with hearing this information because he doesn’t think the Crown Prince can make much difference but then turns furious at hearing that the Crown Prince met with General Guo Li Shi. We will talk more about him in future episodes. THe reason Lin Jiu Lang is so upset because Guo Li Shi has sway over the Emperor. This could jeopardize his, Lin Jiu Lang’s position at court or at least power, if word gets to the Emperor of the Crown PRince’s achievements. 


Lin Jiu Lang is irate as Ji Wen continues to report the various tidbits of information he received such as General Guo secretly amassing goldware. But Lin Jiu Lang’s response in this scene had me realizing just how cunning Lin Jiu Lang is. He instructs Ji Wen to tell his connections to switch out all of Yang Tai Zhen aka Concubine Yang’s silverware in her palace to extremely broken or worn out pieces. THis will have use later on. 


Turning back to Zhang Xiao Jing and Tan Qi, after careful examination, she is able to see right through Cui Qi’s deception that 曹破延 is not included in the bodies in that property. 崔器 is dismissive of her when she confronts him of concealing the truth only for 张小敬 to step in and say he was the one who gave the order to announce a full victory because he wanted all the glory. He then goes and grabs 崔器 for a private conversation. This is another conversation I thoroughly enjoyed because it sets 张小敬 apart. As 崔器 says, he doesn’t have much relationship with 张小敬,why would he take the blame for 崔器? My reading is that 张小敬 can understand why 崔器 behaved the way he did and acknowledges that 崔器 has further use to the Empire tomorrow vs the convict on the death row. At this, 崔器 truthfully shares that 曹破延 did indeed escape with a woman, 王韫秀。 Zhang Xiao Jing inquires about the other woman who was abducted by the Blaze Gang and then admonishes 崔器 for not caring about this woman today simply because she’s not the likes of 王韫秀. 


From 崔器, 张小敬 basically confirms that 曹破延 kidnapped 闻染 and not 王韫秀 but 崔器 adds the complication that they must act carefully. Otherwise, if word gets out about this, 王忠嗣‘s military power could be threatened thereby threatening border security of the Tang dynasty. That is something they cannot have. 


Taking all of this information in, Zhang Xiao JIng rather calmly forumlates his next steps. First, he tells 檀棋 to find the Prince of Yong, an individual we’ll talk about later. He tells her to relay the message “Let Go of Zhang Xiao Jing’s person”. Tan Qi is a little surprised the Prince of Yong would understand this message but agrees to go. Not before inquiring whether or not the “person” in question is a woman named 闻染。 She warns 张小敬 that she is intricately involved with some unsavory cases recently and she should go back to 靖安司 for safety. 


With that, we end episode 10. 





Let’s turn to the history for this episode! It’ll be more of a fashion breakdown because this episode was so plot heavy, so we’ll take this breather to discuss some more Tang Dynasty fashion. Namely, for men. 


First and foremost, Captain Cui scolds his fellow soldier for not finding the escaped members of the Wolf Squad. He says, how hard is it to find 2 men who aren’t wearing 幞头? 


幞头 is the black cloth that covers the head for all men in Chang’An. It’s really only non-Han men or foreigners who do not wear the 幞头


The tang dynasty 幞头 evolved from the Han dynasty hair wrap. In the early tang dynasty, the wrap on the head was a soft wrap in which there were two hanging straps behind the head. There was also a “4 feet” style as well. The materials used for the wrap came in many forms, ranging from black silk, to yarn, to leno or in chinese 纱罗. Leno, which is a kind of strong and sheer fabric, was more favored by the Tang since it was more breathable. 


When I first saw this hairstyle, I was like – huh, interesting, but also kind of crazy that the men have THIS much hair for the wrap. I then did a little bit of digging on how to actually make the wrap. So – to make the wrap, each man would put a 巾子 or a rattan made hair mold to stabilize the shape. The hair would be in a bun under the mold or 巾子. Then, the man would wrap the piece of fabric over the mold to the final shape that we see in the show. There are several historical records detailing the molds and the wraps.


Tang Dynasty men would all don this type of head covering, from the Emperor all the way down to your layperson. As we see in this drama, there are only a few men who do not wear this head covering. Li Bi is one of them because he is daoist. The members of the wolf squad are the others. Then we have 张小敬 who started with the 幞头 but for ease of running around in search of the wolf squad and also cause he’s been injured so much, discarded the 幞头. In many other tang dynasty dramas, we don’t see men wearing the 幞头. That’s a big no no since these head coverings were ubiquitous.


During the Tang Dynasty, women also frequently wore men style of clothing and they developed their own style of 幞头, however, we don’t really see that in this drama.


We started from the hairstyle, let’s move onto the actual clothing. What most Tang men wear is what was called the Round collar Robe or the 圆领袍. 


The origins are somewhat murky. The Round Collar Robe already appeared in China in the early 2 century AD in paintings and dolls. There are also records that the round collar was introduced to the Chinese from nomadic tribes. However, by the time of the Tang Dynasty, so 7th and 8th century AD, it was a style that was very popular with both men and women and very commonly seen. The Round collar Robe was easy to wear – with a fastener to tie the front of the neckline, which made it popular for both formal and leisure events. 


The vast majority of Tang dynasty men in the drama are wearing this style – look at our 姚汝能 in his bright red robe. That is a perfect example of a fully clothed 圆领袍. Same with 徐宾. 张小敬 in this drama is wearing a Round collar robe but he unfastened on button, which is why he has that one lapel when the other men don’t. 


There’s another style called the 翻领袍 called the Lapel Robe. Take a look at our girl 檀棋, she’s wearing the 翻领袍 in which there are double overturned lapels at the chest area and closes near the center of the body. This is a foreign or Hu style of clothing that was introduced to China during the late 4th century AD via the silk road and foreigners. This style then became very popular during the Tang Dynasty as trade flourished with the Turkic people, persians, etc. In the drama, most of the lapels didn’t have embroidery, but we do see them for other people. In the drama, we don’t see THAT many people wearing the 翻领袍 who are government officials. But it was popular with the masses. Next time you watch another Tang dynasty drama, pay attention to the different types of collars and that’ll clue you in on what style of clothing the men are wearing. 


As for our Right Chancellor – he’s been masterminding from the comfort of his own home wearing what was called a 半臂 or what literally translates half arm. This was a style that men and women also wore in which the sleeves end above the elbows. If you see the Right Chancellor in this episode, there’s no round neck collar or lapels, for this half arm. It’s just one piece over the other on the chest area. That style is probably more familiar to Chinese drama viewers. Men always wore an undershirt underneath as it was improper to show skin. Women also had a 半臂 or half arm style but that is usually paired with a long skirt underneath. 


Now that we’ve completed the robes, let’s finish with an accessory, which is the belt that men wore. During the Tang Dynasty, these belts were called “蹀躞(音同“蝶谢”). On this belt, one could hang many additional accessories such as jade pendant, sword, money bag etc. 姚汝能 is once again our best example, although in this episode, we don’t get a great shot of his belt. But look at 张小敬 and 檀棋 towards the end of the episode for a better shot on what is hanging from their belts. The reason why these belts held so many things is because – no pockets! Have you guys noticed that none of these styles include pockets!


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