Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for Xanadu, the color not the movie

So, there is exactly one color that starts with an X. Xanadu, the color is named after Xanadu, the philodendron plant, which in turn is named after Xanadu, the city (not Xanadu, the movie). Following so far? Good.
Xanadu was Kublai Khan's first capital, founded in the 13th century, and we all know it from Samuel Taylor Colridge's poem. And that is pretty much all I am going to tell you about it, because everything I could say I would be copying from Wikipedia since I only read up on the details like 5 minutes ago. Also, I spent the entire weekend at a storytelling conference, so I have an excuse for not being human shaped right now.
I am also not going to tell you the story of Marco Polo, who visited the court of Kublai Khan, because he wrote a book about it and you can go read it, he tells it better than I do. However, he does tell us one particular story that I would like to introduce you to, and that story is about Kublai Khan's niece.
(Color-plant-city-ruler-writer-niece, still following?)
Khutulun, more commonly known as "that Mongolian warrior princess I heard about," was the favorite child of Kaidu Khan, and accompanied her father to battles where she proved to be an excellent fighter. Story says she decided that she was only going to marry a man who could defeat her in wrestling; but if they lost, they had to give her their horses. She ended up single, and the owner of 10.000 horses, before rumor started to spread that she had a relationship with her father, and she resolved to marry (without wrestling) in order to put an end to them. When her father died he intended to leave her the rule, but her male relatives stopped her from the succession. She died soon after, fighting in a legacy war against the guys in the family.

Just to go full circle: Aromaleigh, a cosmetics company that has an entire line of eyeshadow colors named after badass historical ladies, has an eyeshadow named after Khutulun - and it is a dark, grey-green color, just like the xanadu plant.



  1. Such an enjoyable read it was! You did wonderfully with X, esp considering that there is only one colour with X :) And what a coincidence I was just eyeing this very plant, without knowing its name, a few days ago at a public place. Now I must get one for my home :) I will skip the eye-shadow though!

  2. I had no idea Xanadu was a real place - I feel very ignorant :).

    Sounds to me like someone probably started the rumours to force Khutulun into marriage. Stupid men, how could they not see she would have led them to greatness?
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

  3. I love the story. I wonder who she ended up marrying. It's a good thing she didn't ask for their lives. She should have become ruler. I agree with Natasha - stupid men.

  4. Khutulun sounds like one kick-arse lady - such a shame that men forced her out of greatness.

    I had no idea Xanadu was a plant, or a real place.

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  5. Love that poem.

    And....I'll admit a certain fondness for the movie. Don't Judge Me!!

    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

  6. That felt like the long way around, but it was a fun trip! I'd never heard of Khutulun; she sounds awesome.

  7. Xanadu is a color. I'm going to have to use that in my writing some how. It creates great associations in my mind.

  8. This was an enjoyable read! I had thought of Xanadu too but did Xanthia! I am so glad I met you through A-Z...All your posts have been fabulous! Love!

  9. Xanadu was a real place? I never knew that.
    (Now you've got me humming the song by Olivia Newton-John...)