Saturday, April 18, 2020

[Part 2] Exploring Kowloon's "Magic Rooms" | Guest Post


Following on from Part One of this series (Furniture, Sinks & Benches), we continue with Jcgamer's exploration of the various objects to be found in the maze of "magic rooms" to be found within Kowloon's skyscrapers in Shenmue 2.

Today's post covers several more categories including Wall Hangings, Clothing and Dolls.

Category: Calligraphy


Some of the residents of Kowloon Walled City have tried to bring a little elegance to the general filth and grubbiness by displaying framed calligraphy on the walls of their rooms.

Below are four pieces of calligraphy artwork found.

Calligraphy
These are written with traditional Chinese characters.

yuc02 has kindly provided some possible interpretations of the characters and their meanings below:
Calligraphy #1:
The overall meaning is not clear, but the first two characters 典君 ("Dian Jun") may refer to the name of an extremely powerful bodyguard of Cao Cao, one of the 3 kingdom leaders in the Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The bodyguard's name was Dian Wei. In olden times people addressed each other by adding 君 ("Jun") as an honorific.

Calligraphy #2:
The characters resemble 圣贤书 which is the name for a collection of textbooks by Kongzi (Confucious) and Mengzi (Mencius).

Calligraphy #3:
These characters appear to be 高阁才人 which literally have the meaning of a female official of a traditional dynasty, in a high-rise building.

Calligraphy #4
Written in traditional Chinese characters, this means "shielding against wind and rain".

Category: Pictures & Wall Hangings


Pictures, scrolls and other types of wall hangings can also be seen decorating the rooms, There are even working clocks which keep proper time, matching the time shown on Ryo's watch.

Some fine art and time pieces.
The first picture appears to be of a flowering tree in a well-tended garden, the kind of location that the residents of Kowloon might dream of visiting. Another nice detail is the yin-yang symbol that features on the pendulum of one of the clocks.

Two of the pictures also show another clever example of texture reuse by the developers, which would not be easily noticed unless compred side-by-side. The painting in one frame has been flipped and stretched out for use as a larger painting in another room:

Déjà vu? By flipping a texture horizontally then stretching, a new artwork is formed.

Category: Clothing


Various items of clothing can also be found hanging in the rooms, adding to the feeling that these dark and dingy rooms are the homes to the residents of Kowloon. 

With no balconies, this may be the only way the residents have of airing out their clothes. 
There are even colorful baseball caps, perhaps belonging to children.

A reminder of Ryo's homeland: the white T-shirt #3 has an image of a bonsai tree on it.

Category: Dolls


There are a few dolls to be found in the rooms, although they appear to be more for display than a children's play toy.
Matryoshka dolls make a reappearance in Shenmue III.
Jcgamer's Kowloon room exploration will continue in Part 3!

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