• PrintMag

Taking (Some of) the Mystery Out of The East

This 308 or 590-page (depending how you count) book with more than 20,000 entries is crammed with meticulously detailed black-and-white line drawings of Chinese places, people, customs and things, numbered and keyed to the word or description in Mandarin Chinese, in pinyin (phonetic transliteration), and in English.

Although a lot of stuff in major Chinese cities now looks just like it does in Chicago or at the nearby mall (reflective glass office towers, BMWs, KFCs, Pizza Huts, Nike and Apple stores), outside the commercial areas (and even inside them) visual translation is helpful for, as just a few examples: bicycle-carts stacked with charcoal, fried seahorses on skewers, open-crotch toddler overalls. This book shows and tells you about foodstuffs and medicinal herbs, traditional architecture, ethnic minorities and festivals, utensils and tools, train stations, schools, factories and hospitals, public toilets, gardens, markets, restaurants and tea houses … and just about everything else you’ll see in China.

Is it notable or just a design flaw that on the Wedding page, pictures of newborn babies precede those of weddings? This leads me to the page on Family Planning, and the depiction of the dushengzinuzheng (one-child certificate), something that perhaps American expats don’t need to be concerned about. We’ll see.

#Chineseculture #Chineseweddings #informationdesign #visualdictionary