Here is a gallery of photos to help you visualize the world of Dragon Springs Road. Just click on one of the thumbnail images to enlarge and click through the collection.
Being Eurasian in Early 20th Century China
Ulike Jialing, the Eurasians in these photographs belonged to educated, prominent families. It was easy to find accounts of Eurasians who belonged to the upper-classes. Literate and successful, their lives were documented in private and public records. But only in missionary journals and memoirs could I find references to orphaned Eurasians and they sketched a grim picture. The closest modern parallel we have are the children of American servicemen in Korea from the 1960s.
Folklore: Foxes and Immortals
Ancient texts spoke of Foxes as attendants to the heavenly Queen Mother of the West. Fox spirits were also sages, counselors to rulers, but contemporary Chinese pop culture has reduced Foxes to troublemaking seductresses. Over thousands of years, China has assimilated a diversity of religions and folk beliefs. One of these is the existence of immortals, humans who attain minor deity status.
Shanghai at the Turn of the 20th Century
People and street scenes typical of the era. For the poor, it was a brutal city. But somehow, even today, pre-War Shanghai exerts glamour and fascination for Chinese and foreigners alike.
Women Missionaries and Education
There's no doubt that missionary life in China could be difficult and discouraging, especially for women. But many female missionaries found satisfying careers in China, where they had more authority and autonomy than they did at home. Even after the Qing government mandated public schools for girls, women's education faced obstacles. The Imperial government lacked funding (and any actual will) while traditional Chinese families felt girls weren't worth educating.
Travels with Fox
Throughout the novel, Fox vanishes on missions of her own, then shares memories of her travels with Jialing. The places described in the novel are all real places in China. Here is a mini-travelogue in pictures.