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Book Review: ‘Ost trifft West · East meets West · 东西相遇’


‘Ost trifft West · East meets West · 东西相遇, by Fang Liu 刘扬, published by Hermann Schmidt Verlag Mainz, 2013, 9th Print, ISBN 978-3874397339

An amusing little book that describes the differences between East and West – but with a twist.

There are virtually no words (the few words are in German, English and Chinese).  It is essentially a collection of 47 pairs of simple line drawings which cleverly underline many of the basic thought processes in lifestyle and outlook and how these differ between East and West, which anyone who has had contact with the Chinese, will instantly recognise. The West characteristics are shown on the left in blue and the East is on the right hand page in red.

‘Meinung - Opinion - 意见’
‘Meinung – Opinion – 意见’


The above example of  ‘Meinung – Opinion – ’ is shown as a straightforward vertical line for the West but the East’s approach is characterised by a drawing of a maze, twisting and turning every which way. Instantly recognisable and amusing, the drawings in this handy-sized book are a comment on our conception of both sides of the ledger.

The author, Fang Liu, was born in 1976, and moved to Germany with her parents at 13 and attended Berlin University of Arts.   She therefore has experience in both cultures. She has worked as a designer in Singapore, London, Berlin and New York City and, since 2004, has her own design studio. She has received several international design awards and her work is shown in museums around the globe as part of their collections.

Interestingly enough, the longest comment in the book is on the way the paper was manufactured – environmentally and responsibly produced with an emphasis on careful management of resources and tree growth.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in the differences between East and West.

Yang Liu also uses the graphics of ‘Ost trifft West · East meets West ·东西相遇’ in an excellent memory game:

                                    East meets West – Memory‘ by Yang Liu (2013), Ravensburger 26573.

 Teri France

All images shown are quotations from: ©Yang Liu ‘Ost trifft West – East Meets West – 东西相遇,  Hermann Schmidt Verlag Mainz, 2013, 9th Print, ISBN 978-3874397339