Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Victo Ngai's Gorgeous Illustrations for Folio Society's "Chinese Fairy Tales & Fantasies"

I'm not sure why this is coming up in searches as it's been out for a while now, but I've seen more than one mention of the Folio Society's beautiful edition of Chinese Fairy Tales & Fantasies recently.

Since it is still fairly new (mid 2014 release) and there are probably a bunch of you who haven't seen Victo Ngai's stunning work, I thought I'd share some of the illustrations. (She's a fairly prolific artist and quite generous in sharing her process and sketches around social media so do a search and you should find her easily. I suggest starting with her Tumblr HERE.By the way,"Victo", is short for Victoria - a British colonization leftover nickname in Hong Kong.)

From the Epoch Times:
In the volume are eight full-color illustrations by Hong Kong artist Victo Ngai, whose delicate lines and otherwise concise figures are accentuated by her powerful use of color and contrast—the result is a welcome sense of dreamlike, otherworldly fascination.      
Contrasting abruptly with the visions encountered in the legends and fables is the preface, written by award-winning writer Yiyun Li. Raised in Beijing, her words, reflecting the contemporary materialism of the Chinese regime’s Marxist education, express a sort of uncanny bewilderment at the deep spiritual and mystical nature of the legends and folktales. What results is a clash of two identities: one Marxist, empirical, official; the other Chinese, cyclical, traditional.

This edition from the Folio Society (which you can find HERE) currently retails for about $75.00 - not cheap! The volume is designed to be a treasure for a lifetime bookshelf though, and I wouldn't say no to owning one (who am I kidding, I'd pretty much say "yes" to Folio version of almost anything but any fairy tale volumes - "yes please!")

I definitely recommend going to the Folio link and reading the introduction by Moss Roberts - fascinating stuff! It gives a wonderful summary of the uniqueness of Chinese fairy tales and why there is a proliferation of ghosts in their tales, as well as the types of tales that are common (as opposed to different emphasis in other cultures). It also explains why Chinese fairy tales tend to 'resolve' the way they do. As I said, fascinating stuff!

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