Friday, November 25, 2016

Fantastic Beasts Are Given A Chinese Makeover

We so dearly wish to do a proper write-up of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but are aware that many haven't had the chance to see the film yet. However, we did want to mention that whatever people think of the movie, we are thrilled - thrilled! - with the expanding creature folklore of the Rowling Wizarding World as it overlaps wonderfully with existing lore and legends from around the globe.

Spoiler-free review preview: all here loved it and are itching for a second viewing. Despite some flaws, we all agree that in the end, "fantastic" is still the overall best word to describe it and that our realization of such flaws hasn't dented our enjoyment of it at all.

We will go more in depth when we've had time to put together all the notes accruing on the news board, but for now, please enjoy these lovely Chinese-styled takes of the creatures for Fantastic Beasts posters, creatied for promoting the movie in Beijing during the cast's promotional tour there last week. (The movie opens on the Chinese mainland on November 25th.)

The Director of this newest Rowling movie franchise, David Yates, has revealed that there will be "a mythical creature from Chinese legend" in the next movie (sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), which has had fans predicting "dragon". Rowling, however, has denied this, which leaves open a lot of possibilities.

Here's a little more info from China Daily:
A Chinese artist inspired by traditional painting methods has created posters to promote 3D film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 
The magical animals appear in a traditional Chinese circular fan pattern, and are painted using techniques similar to the meticulous brushwork style of traditional gongbi (FTNH: a refined, realist Chinese painting technique that includes careful layering and meticulous detail; considered high art and affordable only by the wealthy). 
The posters were created by Chinese artist Zhang Chun, and given as gifts to the cast, as well as the director and producer, during their promotional tour last week in Beijing. 
The Chinese-style posters portray six magical animals created by author J.K. Rowling, including occamy, demiguise, swooping evil, niffler, thunderbird and bowtruckle, who travel in Chinese landscape, resembling the rare animals from China's mythological collections Shan Hai Jing (Classics of the Mountains and Seas).

What is the Shan Hai Jing*? It's described as a classic Chinese text of mythical geography and myth - a Chinese mythical bestiary, in many ways.

From Wikipedia:
The book is not a narrative, as the "plot" involves detailed descriptions of locations in the cardinal directions of the Mountains, Regions Beyond Seas, Regions Within Seas, and Wilderness. The descriptions are usually of medicines, animals, and geological features. Many descriptions are very mundane, and an equal number are fanciful or strange. Each chapter follows roughly the same formula, and the whole book is repetitious in this way. 
It contains many short myths, and most rarely exceed a paragraph. 
So we're talking nine-headed phoenix, the nine-tailed fox, the Chinese form of Naga (a snake with a man's head), monsters of land and sea, dragons (of course), odd man-beast combinations and many, many more - all of which seem they would be equally at home in Rowling's world - or Newt's magical case. That these posters recall creatures from ancient myth is good incentive to go learn more about Chinese mythological beasts, and, once you have an idea of how popular the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts world is in China, (immensely so!) how much people around the world can have in common.

In the meantime, aren't these just gorgeous and amazingly made?
Director David Yates, producer David Heyman and actors Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol receive gifts of paintings of Chinese magical beasts created by Chinese artists at the premiere

*University of California Press released a book in 2003 titled A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas which sounds fascinating.


  1. Maybe the Chinese creature will be the Qilin.

  2. This site contains many tales of the grimm brothers: