On March 18, the 100-day countdown to the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games, the medal global release of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games was successfully held in the Dong'an Lake Sports Park Aquatics Centre. At the event site, the medals "Rongguang" and the award series materials of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games made their debut in the world. The medal ribbon of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games was designed by MA Liwa, a Professor of the School of Fine Arts and Design of the College of Chinese & ASEAN Arts affiliated with Chengdu University.
Medal Ribbon of the 31st FISU World University Games
A series of unique elements, including the patterns of hibiscus, Golden Sun Bird, and mosaic as well as the emblem of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games, were integrated into the ribbon with red and blue as the main colors, and the elegant and generous design was permeated with full-bodied intense Sichuan flirtatious expressions. Among them, the weaving of medal ribbons applied the craftsmanship and materials of Shu brocade for the first time, which reflected the lingering charm of oriental aesthetics based on the perfect integration of traditional culture and modern sports. What's more unique was that the concave-convex tactile sensation created by Shu brocade patterns was not only rich in historical charm but also changed the smooth texture of traditional ribbons, presenting a remarkable sense of ceremony.
In essence, the ribbon embodied the inventiveness of Sichuan, with the craftsmanship and materials of Shu brocade initially applied to the ribbon design of medals.
However, why was the craftsmanship and materials of Shu brocade applied to the ribbon weaving of medals?
According to the introduction of MA Liwa, a Professor of the School of Fine Arts and Design of the College of Chinese & ASEAN Arts affiliated with Chengdu University and the Designer of medal ribbons of the 31st FISU World University Games in Chengdu, Shu brocade with a long history, Yun brocade of Nanjing, Song brocade of Suzhou and Zhuang brocade of Guangxi were jointly called as the four famous brocades in China. Chengdu built a fairly developed Shu brocade weaving industry since the Han Dynasty, with the imperial court setting up a "Jin Official" in Chengdu who was in charge of the weaving of brocade. Chengdu was thus called the "Juan City", the only city in China named after "Jin". Shu brocade, as one of China's intangible cultural heritages, presented fine patterns and elegant color matching. Therefore, the application of Shu brocade in the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games not only highlighted the unique humanistic characteristics of Chengdu but also blended into the cultural background of Sichuan.
Patterns of hibiscus and Golden Sun Bird on the medal ribbon
However, it was not easy to weave Shu brocade on ribbons with a width of only 2cm. MA Liwa was unswervingly committed to the development and promotion of innovative design of Shu brocade, possessing rich experience in the innovative application of Shu brocade. In retrospect this creation, she described as "like a roller coaster ride". "Because the ribbon uses the ancient Shu brocade weaving technology, we are facing many challenges," MA Liwa said. The ribbon was made of five-color woven thread, which needed to be finished manually on the traditional loom. "The traditional weaving method involves tedious and delicate processes. Because the design drawing cannot be used directly, the textile master needs to conduct the secondary translation of related patterns. Only the arrangement of woven thread and jacquard weave will take two to three days."
In addition, numerous unexpected problems were also exposed in the production process. For instance, the emblem of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games involved more than four colors and gradient colors. Therefore, it was fairly difficult to show such a style in a narrow ribbon space only 2cm wide. "The emblem and characters woven for the first time are not clear, which makes us only present this part through the subsequent printing process."
Different from Shu embroidery, the weaving of Shu brocade was difficult to achieve the same pattern on both sides, which in turn led to the oblique pattern on the back of Shu brocade being inconsistent with the design standard of medal ribbon stipulated by the International University Sports Federation. Therefore, MA Liwa and the team members designed the back picture of the red moire pattern and bound them together, so that the final design of the medal ribbon was in line with the aforementioned standards.
Nevertheless, the foregoing methods also exposed new problems. For instance, the double-sided design increased the thickness of the ribbon, which prevented the ribbon from passing through the invisible hole of the medal. "If we solve this problem simply by reducing the width of the ribbon, it will make the proportion of medals and ribbons out of balance, thus resulting in visual disharmony and other problems."
How to solve it?
After continuous optimization and trial of materials, MA Liwa finally solved this difficulty by reducing the thickness of the ribbon and widening the hole size of the medals. "In addition, Shu brocade is made of real silk. Therefore, we also need to improve related technologies such as the optimization of overlock to prevent the ribbon from scratching phenomenon, to constantly ameliorate the ribbon design and strive for perfection."
The ribbon embodied the inventiveness and aesthetic romance of the Sichuan people
A simple ribbon essentially embodied the inventiveness of Sichuan craftsmanship and the aesthetic romance of the Sichuan people.
MA Liwa said that after accepting the ribbon design task of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games, the College of Chinese & ASEAN Arts affiliated with Chengdu University and the School of Fine Arts and Design gave her great support, convening and forming a design team of more than 20 people including postgraduate students and undergraduate students majoring in products. She put forward more than 40 design proposals in succession. "Many patterns, including checkerboard, giant panda, and Sichuan Jiaozi, were once within our consideration. In the end, we chose the patterns of hibiscus, Golden Sun Bird, and mosaics instead of panda patterns."
MA Liwa hopes to use the medal ribbon to show the world the rich, diverse, and profound culture of Sichuan Province. Since the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (AD 907-960), Chengdu has been known as the 'City of Hibiscus', and hibiscus patterns have been used everywhere in folklore, with hibiscus being one of the most frequent patterns on Sichuan brocade. People use hibiscus-shaped ornaments as gifts to express their feelings, "The hibiscus pattern in the medal ribbon of Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games is both a local feature and a symbol of welcoming athletes from all over the world to Chengdu to realize their dreams."
In addition, the wonderful "mix" of the Golden Sun Bird pattern and the mosaic pattern, where youth and tradition meet, is not only in line with Chengdu's city atmosphere but also signifies the openness and diversity of the international event. "We strive for perfection in even the smallest detail. We hope that through them, the world will see a youthful Chengdu and the color of Sichuan in sports events."