Traditional Chinese Art Unites with Modern Olympic Spirit
Many consider Chinese seal as "the best of Chinese arts."
Carved within a limited space on the end of a small stone, a Chinese seal blends the elements of engraving, calligraphy, painting and poetry.
Today, the "artwork" and the ritual to print it is turned into an expression of a solemn commitment: the logo of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as it was unveiled last night (August 3) at Beijing's Temple of Heaven.
It's called "Chinese Seal -- Dancing Beijing.''
"Young, dynamic -- bringing together the historical and cultural heritage, as well as the future of China'' were the words that Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of International Olympic Committee (IOC), used to describe the logo.
The original design for the logo was selected from 1985 entries contributed by designers from China and overseas.
Jin Shanyi, one of the 11 leading experts from home and abroad on the selection panel, said: "In an almost perfect way, the design blends the features of China and Beijing with Olympic elements.
"It also combines very well the historic heritage, the images of modern Beijing and China, and the solemn commitment of Beijing and China to the world, the future and the Olympics,'' said Jin, who is a famous oil painter and chairman of the Chinese Artists Association.
Scott Givens, who is currently the Managing Director of the Creative Group for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and one of the four international judges in the selection committee, said: "I was drawn to the spirit and vitality represented by the logo image. Rooted in the past, but representing a warm and welcoming future, this emblem has complex meaning, yet is simple to the eye. In particular, I am struck by the bright use of red as its dominant colour.''
The main and upper part of the logo is the shape of a casual Chinese seal with red background and white lines separating the space. The composition of the lines look like the Chinese character "Jing'' (Beijing, capital) and also reminds of a running human figure with arms outstretched, as if dancing and welcoming.
The second part of the design are the words "Beijing 2008'' handwritten in the traditional Chinese calligraphic style of "Hanjian,'' a style often seen in bamboo strips of the Han Dynasty (206 BC -- AD 220). The traditional style of calligraphy creates an interesting interaction and contrast with the English letters, representing an intercultural dialogue.
The shape of a seal and the red demonstrate the thousands years of glorious civilization of China and represents the atmosphere of happiness and peace, according to Jin.
"The image that is reminiscent of both the Chinese character `Jing' and a dancing figure conveys the message that today's China is not only a nation of a long and glorious history but also is full of modern dynamics. It conveys friendliness, sincerity and hospitality, as well.
"The running human figure also represents the spirit of Olympics (faster, higher, stronger) by focusing on the dynamics of the athletes,'' Jin noted.
The new-born "baby'' as put by the international judges was the result of joint endeavours of experts and designers, based on the original design by the Beijing Armstrong Visual Identity Corp (AVIC).
AVIC President Zhang Wu, who led the company's design team for the logo of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, said: "A Chinese designer would not miss the great opportunity to bid for the logo design for the first Olympics to be held in China. Luckily our design was selected.''
Another team member Guo Chunning, who used to be a designer at the advertising department of China Daily and now the vice president of the company, said that the designers were inspired by the words of He Zhenliang, the veteran Chinese sports diplomat and a one time IOC Vice President.
"He Zhenliang said the spirit of the Olympics has actually existed in China for 5,000 years.
But how to combine traditional Chinese culture with sports visually turned out to be a great challenge.
"We finally got this one,'' said Guo, "by using the traditional symbol of Chinese seal, as it personifies the Chinese character, and create a new image of Beijing.''
It also expresses China's commitment to host one of the best Olympics in history, he said.
The elements of traditional Chinese arts in the design reminds viewers of the popular logo used when Beijing was bidding the 2008 Olympics, although the two designs take upon totally different looks.
With a few strokes of Chinese cursive script, the calligraphic lines of the bidding logo was noticeable for the vibrant energy and great enthusiasm representing China's desire to host the Olympics.
In contrast, the game logo showes China's serious commitment to it.According to Jiang Xiaoyu, vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee fro the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), it is customary internationally to design a game's logo for the Olympiad rather than continuing to use the bidding logo.
The work of selecting a new design for the 29th Olympiad, which is to take place in Beijing from August 8-24 2008 in Beijing, started immediately following Beijing's success in the bidding was announced on July 13, 2001.
On July 2, 2002, the Beijing 2008-Olympic Design Conference opened at the Beijing International Convention Centre, which officially started the game logo design competition. More than 600 leading designers from all over the world joined the conference.
The BOCOG also sent out the competition invitations to more than 1,500 professional designers on the globe and began to solicit a design for the emblem of the Beijing Olympics.
Liu Qi, BOCOG president and now party secretary of Beijing, announced: "For the design of the image and look of the Beijing Olympics, our goal is to create a unique image that is rich in oriental wisdom and also demonstrates to the world the great appeal of the Olympics.
"We hope the designs convey a new feeling for the Olympic Games, the historic and humanistic spirit of Beijing and China, the theme of `New Beijing, Great Olympics' and the concept of a green, scientific and cultured Olympiad,'' Liu said.
By October 8, 2002, the deadline for soliciting the bids, the BOCOG had received 1985 works, among them 1,663 by designers from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The rest 222 candidates came from foreign countries, including the United States, Japan and Australia.
In November 2002, the experts committee selected the top 10 designs. The judges unanimously gave the highest scores to the work No. 1498, the original design of the game's logo.
Chang Sha'na, former president of the Central Academy of Arts and Design, said: "It was very difficult for us to make the decision to choose from the almost 2,000 candidates. For us, the process to select the logo was itself a process to learn, to think and to understand. It seems that our foreign colleagues in the committee were clearer about what we need, that was something very Chinese.''
According to Chang, among the choices were some other very impressive designs with Chinese cultural symbols such as cloud, the cursive script of `dragon,' and the images of the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, and sun, moon and mountain.
"But No. 1498 was certainly the most special in style and with greatest meaning, although the original design itself was still not perfect enough,'' Chang said.
After the original design was selected, a lot of experts were invited to discuss and revise the design with the designers, among them artists Han Meilin and Wang Yong. The design also absorbed the opinions from officials in the BOCOG such as Liu and Jiang.
"Finally, we got this one,'' remarked Chen Hanming, a professor and veteran designer from the College of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University in Beijing. On Februry 28, 2003, Li Lanqing, the then vice premier in charge of the country's sports affairs who represented China to speak for the nation's bid in Moscow right before Beijing was awared the Games by IOC, approved the final revised version.
A month later, Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, approved the design in a very Chinese way - he printed his own Chinese seal and signed below the copy of the logo that he called "perfect and poetic.''
In August 2008, when the 29th Olympiad happens, Beijing will open its arms and welcome people from all over the world for a dance party, a carnival of sports and culture!
Best of Luck to :
Career Titles: 4
Career Highlights: Winner - Tashkent 05, Tashkent 04, Japan Open 03, Doha 03. Semi Finalist- Forest Hills 04, Seoul 04, Tokyo 03. Quarter Finalist - Dubai 06, Rome 05, Doha 05, Japan Open 04, Quebec City 03, Canberra 03, Bali 02, New Haven 02, Montreal 02, Palermo 02, Rome 02.