"Because we're a fishing town. At least that's how it was before the factory moved in. Army makes their metal there. Moved in a few years ago and started gunking up our river. Now our little village is struggling to survive."
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In 90 AG, this thriving fishing community found its well-being ruined when the Fire Nation military appropriated a plot of land on the banks of the Jang Hui River, and established the Fire Nation Army factory – a tremendous metal manufacturing facility which served as the principle smelter for weapon production. The factory spewed all of its waste out into the river, polluting the water and destroying the villagers' chief livelihood. Afterwards, local fishermen were lucky to find a few shriveled fish and some dirty clams. Multiple shops in the center of town were boarded up and closed. Without clean water, food, and proper medicine, many poor, sick villagers were helplessly reduced to suffering and poverty.
Ten years later, when Avatar Aang and his friends came to the village of Jang Hui, Katara was devastated to see the villagers suffering, and decided that they needed her help. She disguised herself as the guardian spirit of the town, the Painted Lady, and brought food to the village and healed the sick. A few nights later, she dressed in her disguise and, with the help of Aang, destroyed the factory. As the gang prepared to leave the village the next day, they saw a squad of Fire Nation troops heading toward the town on jet skis and realized that the army likely thought the villagers had sabotaged the factory. Katara immediately became determined to stop them. The soldiers started attacking the village, but a gust of wind blew their flames out. With assistance from Appa, Toph and Sokka providing spooky sound effects, Aang and Katara staged an encounter with the Painted Lady, and successfully forced the troops to flee.
The Avatar and his friends subsequently encouraged the villagers to clean up the pollution. By the time the group left, the water was back to its original clear blue color.
Jang Hui is situated on a wide area of the Jang Hui River. The waterway is bounded on both sides by small, gently inclined cliffs consisting of gray rock. At the foot of a cliff is a small dock made from wooden planks and bamboo stalks bound together with rope. Wooden skiffs are often moored here, and these watercraft provide access to the village. The settlement itself is built atop numerous wooden platforms, all of which are connected to other platforms by bridges. Walkways are constructed from wooden boards of varying length, though some bridges have planks of uniform size that span the width of the passage. Beneath the platforms are wooden support beams that extend down to the riverbed.
Much of Jang Hui's infrastructure is poor and underdeveloped, as most buildings are made from material such as wood, bamboo, and straw. Stilt housing facilities are commonplace, and such structures are typically elevated higher than surrounding buildings. Nevertheless, they exhibit many similar features, such as wooden floors, bamboo poles, and slanted roofs made from yellow straw. Many of Jang Hui's structures have limited wall space, though pile dwellings have none and are completely open to the air. One example of such an establishment is the village hospital. Furthermore, there is a ferry to take visitors and locals to and from the town and a small fish market in Jang Hui. This building resembles the ones near it, but is larger and decorated with a shark's jaw bone for aesthetics. Unlike the store, most houses exhibit overhangs and porches. After Katara masqueraded as the Painted Lady each night to assist the villagers, a statue of the spirit was erected at the center of the settlement.
Riverboats are used frequently in Jang Hui, and as such, the village features many large docks. However, not all residents berth their boats at a dock, instead preferring to leave them near their house. A wooden watchtower is located near one of the docks, and this is by far the tallest structure in Jang Hui. It is open to the air and has several floors, all of which are accessible with a ladder.
- Jang Hui ( ), translates to "gray river" in Chinese, referencing the appearance of the surrounding river when it is not polluted.
- Michael Dante DiMartino suggested that this village be floating after seeing a real village on water.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (October 5, 2007). "The Painted Lady". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Avatar Extras for "The Painted Lady" on Nicktoons Network.