‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ Features Mythic Chinese Beast Art During China Premiere

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Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” held its Beijing premiere on Oct. 28 with a nod to Chinese mythology and art.

At a press conference, cast members Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller and Jude Law posed with a seven-part folding screen that featured beasts from the movie.

 

The giant display is a masterpiece of Zhang Chun, the same Chinese artist responsible for six gongbi-inspired posters that promoted the first film.

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Left to Right: Matagot, Bowtruckle, ZouWu, Niffler, Kelpie and Augurey. Image via Zhang Chun / Warner Bros.

Needless to say, the star of the folding screen is the Zouwu, a “monstrously large feline beast” comparable to the size of an elephant, according to the movie’s accompanying handbook.

Image via China.org.cn / Warner Bros.

The Zouwu has a “striped body, scraggly mane, four fangs that curl up out of its mouth, and long sharp claws,” but its most distinctive characteristic is a “disproportionately long and ruffled multicolored tail.”

Image via China.org.cn / Warner Bros.

Native to China, Zouwus are known to be “incredibly powerful and fast, capable of traveling 1,000 miles in a day.”

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Image via China.org.cn / Warner Bros.

In an interview earlier this year, “Harry Potter” author and “Fantastic Beasts” scriptwriter J.K. Rowling confirmed the Zouwu’s Chinese origins.

Image via YouTube / Warner Bros. Pictures

“The Zouwu is terrifying if you’re a normal human being and to Newt Scamander, like a big kitten,” Rowling told a Chinese film crew. “This is how it’s described in Chinese mythology: gigantic elephant sized cat, five-coloured. It really does take a Newt Scamander to contain and look after that beast.”

 

Rowling reportedly borrowed the creature from the “Classic of Mountains and Seas,” an ancient Chinese text containing mythology and mythic geography.

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Zhang also took creatures from the same book for his work in the 2016 animated film “Big Fish and Begonia.”

Image via YouTube / Warner Bros. Pictures

Netizens praised Zhang’s work:

“Stunningly beautiful!”

“New ultrawide monitor wallpaper.”

“US poster: all Grindelwald. Chinese poster: all beasts.”

“I want this for my wall right now! Damn, this is amazing.”

“I always loved Chinese art I would love a painting like this.”

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“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” opens on Nov. 16.

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