Exchange Programme in Hochschule Anhalt, Dessau, Germany | Book Design | Prof. Brigtte Hartwig
Edited since Chinese pre-Qin period (221 B.C.) and compiled in early Han dynasty, the book Shan Hai Jing (The Classic of Mountains and Seas) is an encyclopedia with information ranging from ancient myths, geography, flora and fauna, minerals, to witchcraft, religions, history, medicines, folklore and ethnicities. It has different authors from different times.
The most bewitching thing about this antique is the mythology and animals it covers. The depicted deities, monsters and animals change in appearance and habits with the alterations of their habitats over time. The records of these variations reveal our ancestors’ accumulated knowledge, understanding and thinking of the environment, natural phenomena, religions, human history and so on.
Some deities, monsters and animals look like human beings. Other divinities appear similar to monsters. The changes in them, which live between mountains and seas, correspond to the changes of the world. If we, who also live between mountains and seas, evolved from them, how would it happen?
We interviewed five people to learn about their interests, backgrounds and the regions that they came from, and then matched them, according to the information, with some deities, monsters and animals in the book. Next, we incorporated these counterparts, their altered living environment described in the book and the interviewees’ look associated with their states of mind and living in an attempt to delineate the possible appearances of the deities, monsters, animals and their living environment today.