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Beijing Winter Olympic medals are exquisitely carved, embodying the Chinese culture

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Beijing Winter Olympic medals are exquisitely carved, embodying the Chinese culture

January 21
23:03 2022

Recently, the Organizing Committee has checked and accepted the medals “Tongxin” of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Paralympic Games produced by Shanghai Mint Co., Ltd. This iconic visual carrier of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and Winter Paralympic Games has come under the world spotlight. The completion of the acceptance means the success of a critical link in Beijing’s preparations for the competition.

Xie Xinrui, the chief engineer of Shanghai Mint Co., Ltd., stated that if ‘Gold and Jade (the gold medal of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games)’ is a breakthrough in form, then ‘Tongxin (meaning together as one)’ is the ultimate in exquisite craftsmanship. He is a cadre member of the medal trial production team, who was also responsible for assembling the 2008 gold medal shortly after he joined the company in 2008. He said that the production difficulty of the 2008 gold medal lay in assembly because gold and jade were different kinds of hard materials; in other words, extrusion and fragmentation must be avoided during production. Therefore, the internal structure of the medal is complicated.

(Front and back of 2022 Winter Olympic medals)

The design team also revealed that the medal design was inspired by the Qiheng Liujian Tu in the Zhoubi Suanjing, a diagram describing the relationship between annual solar motion and solar term variation and revealing the origin of the astronomy calendar. Unlike the five circles on the medal, seven concentric circles are equally spaced on the Qiheng Liujian Tu. Each circle is a “Heng”, and the space between two “Heng” is called “Jian”. Each “Heng” represents the sun’s orbit in different periods of the year.

On the Qiheng Liujian Tu, the outermost circle with the largest radius is the outer “Heng”. At this time, the solar orbit is farthest from the observation point, indicating the Winter Solstice (the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year) and cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere. The innermost circle with the smallest radius is the internal “Heng”, when the solar orbit is closest to the observation point, indicating the Summer Solstice (the day with the longest period of daylight) and hot days. From the outer to the internal “Heng”, five circles in the middle represent the solar orbit circles during the five solar terms of Great Cold (24th solar term), Rains (2nd solar term), Spring Equinox (4th solar term), Grain Rain (6th solar term), and Grain Full (8th solar term). From the internal to the outer “Heng”, the five circles in the middle represent the solar orbit circles of Slight Heat (11th solar term), Great Heat (12th solar term), Autumnal Equinox (16th solar term), First Frost (18th solar term), and Light Snow (20th solar term), respectively. The two phases divide the year 12 equal parts, constituting the 24 solar terms.

Each “Tongxin” medal not only engraves the craftsman’s skills but also wraps a layer of thick Chinese culture and history. 

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