Welcome to day two of the Queens of the Sea series, part of the Random Magic Pirates book tour! Here is the mini-bio for today’s pirate, provided again by Lyrika:
Lai Choi San
The Queen of Macau Pirates
The Jade Empress
The Enigmatic Empress
Lai Choi San was a 20th century Chinese pirate, who prowled the South
China Sea during the 1920s and into the 1930s.
She commanded a fleet of a dozen junks based in the South China
Sea. Finnish adventurer and freelance writer Aleko E. Lilius managed to find a way to
work among her crews, and he recounts his impression of the
cool-headed commander this way:
‘What a woman she was! Rather slender and short, her hair jet black,
with jade pins gleaming in the knot at the neck, her earrings and
bracelets of the same precious apple-green stone.
She was exquisitely dressed in a white satin robe fastened with green
jade buttons, and green silk slippers. She wore a few plain gold rings
on her left hand; her right hand was unadorned. Her face and dark eyes
were intelligent…and rather hard. She was probably not yet forty.
Every move she made and every word she spoke told plainly that she
expected to be obeyed, and as I had occasion to learn later, she was
obeyed.’ (I Sailed with Chinese Pirates (1931), Aleko E. Lilius
Lai Cho San was also the inspiration for a 1930s comic strip,
Terry and the Pirates, featuring a
cold-blooded villainess, The Dragon Lady. The series, by artist Milton
Caniff, sparked a radio series (1937-1948) and a later TV series
in the early 1950s.
You can read more about Lai Choi San at In the Library of LadyViolet, as part of the Queens of the Sea series.
It was kind of Lilius to describe her outfit so well, wasn’t it? That made today’s overall design very easy to come up with, meaning that I could spend less time thinking about it and more time admiring pictures of 1920s-era vintage Chinese robes. I could have sworn that the word “necklaces” appeared in that description at some point, though. Oh well. I’m sure she had a least a couple of necklaces!
Imagine trying to keep a white satin outfit like that clean anywhere near a ship… Even if it’s not what she might have worn on duty, so to speak, it can’t have been easy. I imagine that’s one perk of what was no doubt a generally rough existence — she could task some poor underling with the duty of keeping her clothes immaculate. Although, given that she may have never existed at all, I suppose a fantasy character could keep all manner of delicate white clothing perfectly clean.
Don’t forget to enter my contests! Click here for the chance to win an original drawing, for those of you who can give me an address if you win, and click here for the chance to design a pirate outfit, open to everyone!
I wanted to clarify one thing about the first contest – it’s open to international visitors as well as domestic ones. And yes, all you have to do is post a comment to enter — although it is a little boring for me to watch the comments roll in, next time I do something like this, I will make people write something more imaginative! But I won’t change the rules on you mid-stream, this time.
Also, check out the Rum + Plunder treasure hunt for more pirate prizes!