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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Icons: Beijing Olympic Games

From the official website:

Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals - the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow - and the Olympic Flame.

Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name - a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.

When you put their names together - Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni - they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature - the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky - all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.

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3 comments:

Joshua said...

What do you suppose the implications are for the selection of the Tibetan Antelope as one of the mascots?

The animal is native to two Chinese provinces, which cover a good chunk of northwest China, but the animal's name, in English, clearly links it to the so called "autonomous" region of Tibet.

I have no idea, but it would seem that this is possibly a coded way of China reinforcing its claim on Tibet on an international stage.

In any event, I won't be at all surprised if the Tibetan Antelope mascot is taken up by those who protest China's illegal occupation of Tibet and the Olympics for sanctioning the Chinese government's actions by granting them the Olympics.

Joshua said...

And another thing . . .

According to Wikipedia's entry on the Fuwa, each one is represented by a "personality." Here are the four adjectives used to describe the two female mascots: "gentle, pure, innocent, joyous." And the males: "honest, optimistic, extrovert, enthusiastic, lively, vivacious."

The summer Olympics are a great showcase for male and female athletes. So why the conservative, traditional Chinese attributes for the owmen?

Savage said...

When I first heard about the "Five Friendlies", I was glad that more though went into China's Olympic mascots than our silly Izzy mascot back in 1996. These Asian characters have flair!