Hangzhou, preparing for the 19th Asian Games, unfolds a spectacular scene that seamlessly marries ancient heritage with contemporary innovation. The flame lighting ceremony at the Liangzhu Ancient City Ruins Park exemplified this harmony, with actors dressed in costumes reflecting the ancient Liangzhu Culture, symbolizing the unity and shared aspirations of the Asian community.
Liangzhu, established around 3000 BC, stands testament to one of the earliest regional states in China and East Asia, deeply rooted in cultural richness. President Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of China’s rich traditional culture, which is marked by continuity, originality, inclusivity, peacefulness, and uniformity. This culture has been an infinite reservoir, offering wisdom and strength, fostering collaborations with nations worldwide and painting a grand tapestry of human civilization.
Delving into history, over 5,000 years ago, the roots of the Chinese nation were seeded. The Xia Dynasty, believed to be the first in Chinese history, possibly started in Liangzhu. This continuity is celebrated in the Asian Games, continuing the legacy of human civilization. As President Xi noted, understanding the continuous thread of China’s history is paramount to grasping its past, present, and future.
Hangzhou’s venues for the games showcase this blend of old and new. The Fuyang Silver Lake Sports Center, inspired by China’s Yuan Dynasty landscape painting Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, incorporates the painting into its modern silhouette. Using technology, the stadium’s facade captures the essence of the painting, creating a unique visual appeal. Architect Yuan Han believes that symbols like the landscape painting represent the heart of Chinese aesthetics. This taste, rooted in China’s extensive history, can continue to inspire contemporary designs, given that the designs navigate the intricate balance between tradition and modernity.
Not just venues, even the mascots of the games – Congcong, Lianlian, and Chenchen – embody this blend. Drawing inspiration from Hangzhou’s tech prowess and ancient Liangzhu Culture, designer Zhang Wen incorporated elements like the iconic jade cong of Liangzhu Culture and the Grand Canal’s mesmerizing blue waters.
As the Asian Games approach, Hangzhou showcases its unity and inclusivity. Through various initiatives, the city promotes mutual understanding and appreciation of Asian cultures. One of the games’ slogans, “Heart to Heart, @Future,” emphasizes the potential of the digital era to connect diverse regions. The game’s torch also incorporates symbols of Liangzhu Culture, resonating with both history and nature.
Historically, China has displayed its inclusive nature, intertwining various ethnic and cultural influences. This intertwining is evident in the rich tapestry of traditions, religious beliefs, and cultural exchanges that have thrived within its borders. Hangzhou, for instance, has been a major hub for trade and cultural interactions, especially during the Tang and Song dynasties.
The unity and peace symbolized by the torch relay for the Asian Games reflect China’s broader commitment. As Walker notes, China’s strength lies in its collective spirit. Initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative emphasize China’s commitment to fostering dialogue among different civilizations. The five core tenets of Chinese civilization – consistency, originality, inclusivity, unity, and peace – provide a blueprint for global cultural exchanges.
With the lighting of the Asian Games torch in Hangzhou, a city brimming with hospitality and state-of-the-art facilities, the world will witness an event where ancient wisdom and modern brilliance converge, championing a future where diverse cultures thrive side by side.