Meet Xia! The titular character, Xia lives with her materialistic mother, Xiao Fang, but she identifies more with her monastic grandmother (Lao Lao).
I designed her as a mouse because in Chinese mythology, the mouse is seen as a humble hardworking creature. I also felt that children could identify more easily with a smaller creature. Plus, mice are adorable!
Although red is a significant color in Chinese culture, I felt red was too strong for Xia’s character so I chose pink, which was also worn by girls in that period, specifically a garment called the “pink cloud cape”. Xia actually means “rosy dawn” in Chinese. In this illustration, Xia carries a banana leaf-wrapped lunch and lights the way with a paper lantern.
Xia’s Bedroom (Daylight/Nighttime)
Bed Designs – Xiao Fang
After finding several references for 17th century Chinese beds, I created these stylized versions. Each represented a facet of her personality: Assertive, intimidating, and regal.
I felt that the purple bed best reflected her character, regal and detached. Moreover, the bed resembles a cage, which symbolized her being trapped and isolated by her greed.
Lao Lao’s possessions reflect her humble lifestyle.