Illustrations for Lucky Peach by Jing Wei.
Noodle cats by Veronica Tolentino
Illustrations by Dingding Hu
Book covers drawn by artist Jian Guo.
Part of a competition held by the publisher of the new Chinese text, the beautiful, monochromatic illustrations draw on many of the design elements of Tolkien’s original paintings for the trilogy’s covers, elaborating on the iconic ring and towers with intricate Asian lines and flourishes.
The artist, an architectural student, describes his style as “glass painting style,” which he uses for its “sense of religious magnificence.” Interestingly, before seeing Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptation in 2002, he had never heard of the books. (Previous Chinese translations of the books feature rather unimaginative covers with images from Jackson’s movies.) The films converted him into an avid reader of Tolkien.
1. Start with Shanghai’s succulent signature pork and crab soup dumplings, xiaolong bao, at Din Tai Fung (South Block, Unit 11, House 6, Ln. 123 Xingye Rd.; www.dintaifung.com.tw). Use the tried-and-true technique: Nibble a small hole in the dumpling and suck out the broth before biting into it – but beware, it’s hot! (0:30)
2. Stroll into Xintiandi (www.xintiandi.com), where restored shikumen (stone gate) homes dating back to the 1860s now house chic restaurants and shops. Forget about the schlocky souvenirs, and buy something functional, like a contemporary teapot at Zen Lifestore or a handbag made from colorful sandbag cloth at Oshadai. (1:30)
3. Before leaving Xintiandi, peek into the Shikumen Open House Museum (25, Ln. 181, Taicang Rd.) to see a re-creation of what these cute houses looked like in the 1920s, complete with vintage sewing machines and magazines with Hollywood stars on the covers. (2:00)