Cinderella

Here is my Cinderella piece I did. The concept was to take the story of Cinderella and place it in a non-European culture. I chose to place the story in Japan.

I wanted to make sure, with this piece, not to just incorporate images of Japan but ones that were symbolically relevant. Such an example can be seen in the Sakura tree. Not only is it iconic for Japan but it has symbolism relevant to Cinderella. The Cherry Blossoms are symbols of femininity and for a cycle of change and rebirth. Which I think relates nicely to how Cinderella is changed by her fairy god-mother.

The most difficult part of this illustration was trying to find an appropriate translation for the fairy god-mother. At first I thought perhaps a very elegant looking female spirit. However, after doing research I came to realize that most times when a female spirit is represented they are usually evil spirits. So, I had to find another avenue of thought.

After a discussion with my friend I decided to look into animal spirits in Asian cultures. I thought of tanuki (raccoon), kitsune (fox), and dragons. Dragons seemed to be the best bet for they are symbols of good luck and intelligence. They also can be known to help humans. It still however didn't seem to fit as well as I wanted it to.

Then, as I was working, my friend Sujin called me again and recommend I looked up the Asian phoenix. In China known as Feng Huang and in Japan as Ho Oh, the Asian phoenix was, I think, the best representation for the fairy god-mother. Originally Feng and Huang were the names for the two separate genders of the phoenix. However, they eventually became fused together and refereed to more commonly as a female figure. It is seen as the feminine counterpart to the Asian dragon and as a symbol of good fortune. The Asian phoenix also carries with it the similar cycle of death and rebirth that the European phoenix has. Similar to the Sakura the Asian phoenix adds to the symbolism of rebirth that the story of Cinderella embodies.

All in all I really like how this piece turned out and I hope everyone enjoys it. Also Happy Belated Turkyday.