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A palanquin is a mode of transportation used by royalty in many societies across the earth. Although slow, the palanquin is elaborately designed and is thus representative of power and prominence, which political figures use in public appearances as a symbol of their importance.
In 100 AG, Azula was brought to the crew of her royal barge on a palanquin and later before her friends in Omashu. Weeks later, Earth King Kuei was transported to a party at his own palace on a palanquin, meaning the vehicle was used indoors.
Afterward, when Prince Zuko left the Royal Palace to head for Mai's house, royal servants insisted he go there by palanquin, which Zuko agreed to although the destination was well within walking distance. Prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Azula and Fire Lord Ozai came to a harbor on different palanquins, after which the latter departed to lead a massive assault on the Earth Kingdom.
Palanquins used in the Fire Nation are mostly red in coloration, with golden trim lining the top and edges. Two steps lead to the seat, which has red cushions and is concealed on three sides by a pink cloth attached to the exterior of the palanquin's top. A smaller cloth also hangs from the roof, though this one is mainly black and adorned with red borders as well as the Fire Nation insignia. The palanquin bearers, of which there are usually four, hold the vehicle from the bottom side where the red bars are.
The Phoenix King rode in a different type of palanquin in order to exemplify his status. It was similar in design to a traditional one, but slightly larger, had a unique design for the pillars, and was emblazoned with a golden sculpture of a phoenix on top.
Earth Kingdom palanquins are far larger and more grandiose than their Fire Nation counterpart. They resemble a temple, having a slanted green roof with golden lining. The pillars are green near the roof and become smaller as they approach the base, where it is orange in coloration. A thin white curtain conceals the internal structure of the palanquin, where the Earth King's large seat is. The palanquin has two long and yellow bars that extend from either side of the vehicle. Overall, it is more rigid and geometric in design than the Fire Nation style.
The litter is a class of wheelless vehicles, a type of human-powered transport, for the transport of persons. Examples of litter vehicles include jiao (China), sedan chairs (England), palanquin (also known as palki) (India), and gama (South Korea). Smaller litters may take the form of open chairs or beds carried by two or more men, some being enclosed for protection from the elements. Larger litters, for example those of the Chinese emperors, may resemble small rooms upon a platform borne upon the shoulders of a dozen or more men.
- ↑ Ehasz, Aaron, Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 17, 2006). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (April 7, 2006). "Return to Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (September 22, 2006). "City of Walls and Secrets". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 14. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (November 16, 2007). "Nightmares and Daydreams". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.