The Mighty Huang Mu Picture

The Mighty Huang Mu

Huang Mu is, in Ao Lai culture, the centuries-old vampire who easies the passing of the troubled dying. In order to aid those moving into Otherworld, he takes the form of something or someone comforting to the person. The people of Ao Lai and increasingly more Nipponese believe that he actually has a select several forms he takes that appear differently to those who see him just before death and those who see him who are not dying. This belief stems from alleged "sightings" of very similar persons appearing in the town, village, or city of the dying person(s) a day or so before the death or deaths happen. The most popular and well-known "other form" is a young Nipponese man in a plain grey yukata. While most Nipponese maintain that Huang Mu takes only male forms, the Ao Liese and Xiu Janyang believe he isn't opposed to taking a female form every once in a while.

He is rumored to have been a sickly shrine boy in life who passed on bringing a dying couple to a healer, according to the Ao Lai culture on the mainland. But on the island of Nippon, he is said to have been descended from hopping ghosts; in their mythology, Huang Mu is reported to have never walked by taking steps but by hopping or rocking. Though some Nippon traditionalists swear by their version due to some ancient portrayals of Huang Mu looking similar to a parasol spirit, as "sightings" claim he has a hat that makes him look like the spirit from afar. However, statistics for some reason have never reported seeing Huang Mu or any of his forms physically in areas populated heavily by rice paddies.

Yet according to both cultures, Huang Mu is the emperor (and according to Xiu Janyang Province lore, the father) of all vamipres. It is also said that he can suck away blood, physical strength, and health by not only biting others but by sucking the air. Some say when the wind blows fiercely and seems to suck the warmth out of your skin, it is Huang Mu taking some of your life force and inching you closer to the afterlife. But this is mostly said by the most strict traditionalist Nippon dwellers. A far more widely accepted belief is Huang Mu's involvement in the rare near-death experience, in which he rejects the passing soul attempting to enter Otherworld. In fact, it's said that when regretful souls are rejected by Huang Mu, they awake from their near-death slumber with new ambition and focus. Persons who come out of near-death sleep are said to be some of the only ones to see Huang Mu in person and in his true form and live.

Because of the many, varied forms he takes, Huang Mu is portrayed in many ways, but the most popular depiction is a deathly white male with a bat-like face and head, wild black hair with a ponytail, wings, and clothes of muted colors and mixed cultures, depending on the artist, be they Ao Liese, Nipponese, or Xiu Janyang. (Typically, though, he's shown wearing shoulder pads, a grey-red obi, and flowing white robes. Any body part other than his head and wings are very rarely portrayed.) Most famous of Huang Mu's depiction, for some reason, is his grimacing expression. Some Nipponese claim that his hair formation is the vestiges of dragonhood, because it somewhat resembles the frill around a dragon's head. Only small groups of Nipponese agree with this story and barely anyone else does. His portrayal of age varies widely. You'd be hard put to find a picture of Huang Mu portrayed as a girl or woman in the Ao Lai mainland or in Xiu Janyang, and in Nippon, you'd be fined for possessing one and imprisoned for creating one.

Huang Mu's personality is described as a serious, stern, but not unfriendly spirit. Because his portrayal almost always shows him glarnig or grimacing, people tend to think him an enraged, brooding, or seething spirit, but people who have had near-death experiences claim he is not like this at all and is more accurately described as a grumpy spirit.

There are many sites in all three of the prominent Ao Lai lands where many believe Huang Mu perches and watches over the people.

-Taken from Strange Ao Lai Rules/Traditions-

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Not only was exploring the legend of Huang Mu loads of fun, but drawing him was awesome fun as well. I normally draw him in my usual Axolotl style, but I decided to draw him with a more detailed face 'cause I wanted to see what he looked like if he actually did have a bat-face. Also, I very rarely give people white clothes, 'cause it's hard to deal with. But I figured out how to make it easier, and because of my practice with copic markers, it's easier to translate it to Adobe Photoshop with my pen tablet.
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