Oriental Women

I have been reading about Lee Ya-Ching, who is billed (incorrectly) by Wikipedia as the “First Chinese civilian aviator.” In her various tours of North and South America to raise money for the Chinese war effort she of course attracted a lot of attention as a symbol of China. She was… Well I am not as good as the Miami Daily News at stuffing orientalist tropes into a paragraph, so I will leave it to them.

Miss Lee Ya-Ching, restrained, placid and assured as a Chinese goddess posed on a lily pad—hands as sensitive and artful as a fan dancer’s and a voice poignant with culture and the philosophy of the ages. Yet she is as modern and as American as the latest career deb—and quite as stylish.” Miami Daily News January 16, 1941

I think that lilly pad was maybe supposed to be a lotus, but they hit pretty much all the notes in here.

Among other things, her U.S. tour was something of a dry run for Madame Chiang’s later visits.


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