The Untamed locations: The Jingshi 静室
A digital redraft of my original love-letter to Cheng Qing Ling. The Quiet Room (静室/Jingshi) is Lan Wangji’s private residence in the Cloud Recesses. It is a secluded place dedicated to study and meditation, located somewhere in the Back Mountains of the Lan Sect’s domain.
The complete diagram:
(Full sketch details/scene meta below.)
Part 2: The Hanshi
When I started my original sketch of the Jingshi last year, I was caught up in my feelings for episode 43, and how this home - once a place of confinement and isolation - became a place of sanctuary and shelter for Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian.
The scene felt climactic in many ways for both LWJ and WWX’s personal arcs as well as their relationship, and I was moved by how such a moment of emotional clarity was ultimately so quiet, enhanced by the domestic intimacy the setting gave them.
It also felt symbolically satisfying that - as Lan Xichen had just previously explained to WWX, setting this scene in motion - this house once belonged to LXC and LWJ’s mother. So, the echo of her character in both LWJ and WWX, and the parallel of her relationship with Qingheng Jun and theirs, also added a feeling of transformation and healing to the scene.
Some may find adrenaline-charged moments, like the confession at Guanyin Temple, to be more emotionally satisfying, but for me it was the evening in the Jingshi that was the emotional climax of the narrative. So I wanted to try and capture that set, to immortalise the moment and allow myself to imagine their domestic life post-canon.
Its function and design:
The Quiet Room is Lan Wangji’s private residence. Located in the Back Mountains, its thatched roof, simple latticework and singular building give the Jingshi a rustic feeling that removes it from the rest of the Cloud Recesses.
Although it takes on the role of the Gentian House and Cold Room (寒室/Hanshi) as needed, the interior is adorned with crane imagery that fits Lan Wangji’s character.
The contrast of dark wood against white gravel nonetheless carries over from the main compound as a core design element, and its interior light blues and hanging curtains echo that of the other Lan residences we see.
Unlike the Hanshi, which receives official guests from other sects, the Jingshi is clearly a private residence. It is partitioned into three separate spaces. The central space acts as a receiving area and formal study, behind which a viewing window opens out onto a small, “enclosed” garden. A scholar rock acts as the main focal point, which is very appropriate for a place of study and contemplation. (Either side of the rear window, you can see LWJ follows the Lan’s penchant for balancing tiny vases of flowers on logs.)
The sleeping area is to the right of the entrance. The circular window in the Eastern wall acts as a focal point for the bed, which is where many of the camera angles focus.
As such, we don’t see much of the front of the room, even though the bump-out is a key feature of the Jingshi’s external appearance. The shot above is one of the only glimpses we get of the beautiful shelves to the right of the bed, and the scene below in which LWJ meditates over his guqin is the only clip we get of the front of this room:
Special mention to the tiny vase mounted to the doorframe, and the shot of WWX’s outer robe and bracers on the stand behind LWJ in episode 42:
Meanwhile, the western side of the Jingshi acts as a sitting area, complete with sunken hearth and exits to the porch and pavilion. This seems to be where LWJ relaxes the most.
He doesn’t receive any formal visitors, which aligns with the novel’s assertion that no one enters the Jingshi without LWJ’s express permission. As such, the only time we see someone received “formally” in the Jingshi is during episode 8, when Wen Chao visits Lan Xichen:
As it is night-time at this point, and Lan Wangji is conveniently absent from the Cloud Recesses, we can assume the Jingshi is taking on the role of the Hanshi in this moment.
Special mention to the continued crane motif on the curtains that we see in this scene:
A technical note on the yard layout:
Thanks to the set’s subsequent appearance in Shan He Ling episodes 20 and 21, the West elevation - and the alcove/shelf details in the bedroom - are much more accurate than my first sketch. Although the set dressing is very different in SHL, the core structure of the building stay the same:
You can also see more clearly how the landscape rises to curve around the back of the structure in the background of these last shots.
(If you want to go wild with landscape analysis, this is perhaps meant to mimic the east and west ‘dragon and tiger hills’ that mark an ideal auspicious landscape in fengshui design principles. They were thought to symbolise a mother’s protection.)
Below, you can see the beautiful shelves to the right of the circular window, mostly hidden in Chen Qing Ling:
Additionally, in the below .gif from SHL episode 21 you can see how the pavilion, pond and general layout of the garden match up to what we manage to glimpse of these structural elements in CQL:
There shots were therefore a primary resource when it came to planning the birdseye view.
However, there was still guesswork involved when it came to sketching the pond detail beneath the moon bridge - which is perhaps a very minor landscaping detail that only I will be bothered by.
Funfact! An identical bridge and pavilion are seen at the Cold Pond in CQL episodes 6 and 33:
Because of the repetition of some of these props across the sets of CQL, including things such as the Lan-style table and chairs (which I affectionately dubbed chonky pants), I felt confident in assuming they were the seating used in the Jingshi pavilion:
The only thing I truly took creative liberty with (apart from adding an extra seat in the pavilion for reasons) is the path towards the pavilion in the birdseye view:
In the wide shot of the pavilion and the bridge above, there seems to be a simple dirt path in the short space between the pavilion and bridge. But this felt too simplistic for the other half of the pathway, which appears grassier, and did not match the paths visible in this shot from SHL:
So I used the rough stone pathways we see in the less formal areas of the Cloud Recesses as inspiration.
I also did not include the rear rock garden, seen through the viewing window behind LWJ’s desk, as I haven’t really included landforms separate to the the main terrain outline.
However, there is a white wall, staggered in height, just behind the Jingshi. Its purpose is to provide a clean backdrop for the small rock garden. I have no idea of its dimensions, so I omitted it from the floorplan, but did include it in the birdseye thumbnail.
A special note on the gate:
A final detail that I absolutely need to mention is the gate. We don’t see much of it, but I think it might be one of my favourite features:
To my best but very uneducated guess, it says “堂竹影”, which roughly translates to “bamboo shadow hall”. It’s very appropriate, considering both its surroundings and the repeated bamboo motif within the Jingshi itself.
You can also see this gate in the background of this shot, in episode 33:
This actually reveals a little more about where the Jingshi may be located within the Back Mountains (relative, at least, to the webseries and its sets). At this moment, Wei Wuxian is returning from a nostalgic wander around the Cloud Recesses main compound, and is about to spot some of Lan Wangji’s rabbits on his way to the Cold Pond.
Until this moment, I hadn’t realised how close the rabbits were to the Jinghsi, even though it makes perfect sense considering they just roam the hillside freely. It makes me smile to think that at this moment WWX is probably echoing LWJ’s morning routine - walking through the forest, checking on his bunnies on his way to the Cold Pond.
Anyway, thank you for reading!
Please consider checking out part 2: The Hanshi, to see how LWJ’s home compares to that of his brother. The window lattices and courtyard plan were particularly fun to puzzle out, and I discovered a tiny deer ornament that (still) has my entire heart.
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