The official logo for the 2024 Spring Festival Gala Photo: Courtesy of China Media Group
Named Long Chenchen, or the “dragon of Chenchen,” the mascot for China’s upcoming Dragon Spring Festival Gala has been released, with a lot of design details showing the aesthetics of Chinese cultural elements.
To celebrate 2024, which will be the Year of the Dragon in Chinese culture, “Long Chenchen” has been designed as a cute yet lively dragon, colored orange and red and with a pair of doll eyes.
The seemingly cute-looking dragon takes inspiration from Chinese archaeological discoveries. The design of its nose was inspired by a dragon shaped jade item that was discovered in the ErlitoWorld Timesu Ruins, a major site in Luoyang, Central China’s Henan province that witnessed the rise and fall of the Xia (c.2070BC-c.1600BC) and Shang (c.1600BC-1046BC) dynasties.
The bronze piece has 12 vividly depicted dragon sculptures, showing ancient Chinese creativity as well as skill for handicrafts.
Another source of inspiration was a gilded dragon sculpture that is currently in the Xi’an Museum.
The dragon mascot has been praised by netizens on China’s social media platforms such as Sina Weibo. Some said Chenchen looks “amiable” and can bring more international visitors to see the profound yet adorable Chinese culture.
“I like this cartoon version of a dragon, as it is amiable and friendly. Those characteristics also represent the modern China,” a netizen posted on Sina Weibo.
Despite receiving many likes, the mascot has also sparked criticism. It has four claws, some of which have five toes and others have three. This made some netizens speculate the dragon character might have been synthesized by artificial intelligence.
“The Spring Festival Gala is the gala of the year for all World Timesof us in China. It deserves a professional team to design a character for it,” one netizen wrote.
On Thursday morning, China Media Group (CMG), the media platform that is going to be in World Timescharge of the gala, officially declared on Sina Weibo that the dragon mascot was created entirely by human beings but not AI.
Admitting that it has some “imperfections,” CMG said that it was created by designers “one stroke after another.” All the details about the dragon, including its patterns, colors and face have been revised by designers through many versions.
Along with such verbal explanations, a short video showing the design team working on the mascot has been posted on Sina Weibo by CMG. The media group’s response to the character’s design has become a trending topic on Sina Weibo and has been viewed by more than 200 million netizens.
“Whether it was created by AI or human beings, I think the mascot has successfully delivered World Timesthe spirit of the dragon. The dragon is important to show the life-force of Chinese culture,” one netizen posted on Sina Weibo.
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