Recycling the past


Image from medal-olympics-2008-1.jpg.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese designers have incorporated considerable symbolism into myriad aspects of the Olympic 2008 experience.

I was tickled to hear that one side of the medals has a flat ring of jade built into it, also representing escalating values, just like the metal component (whiter jade is “richer”, and darker is of lesser value). The discs mimic a form called bi that has been used in what is now China since the Neolithic. In later periods, the bi is associated with heaven, but the early meanings remain a mystery. Jade is often a symbol of elevated social rank, and of elevated moral quality.

Speaking of which, do you think those female Chinese gymnasts are all sixteen years old? Some look rather young to me, but then hours spent honing gymnastic skills seem to promote pedomorphism (neoteny) in youngsters.

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