A new claymation promotional video for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics has been unveiled by CCTV, China’s state-owned broadcaster. The two-minute-thirty-second clip was posted to Weibo, a microblogging site, on December 16. It features a dozen clay figurines partaking in various winter sports.
Each of the adorable characters can be seen in the intro with the tools of their respective sports: a hockey stick, skis, a snowboard, a luge, and figure skates, among other winter sports equipment.
Furthermore, each represents one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. And the symbolism doesn’t stop there: The color red features prominently in the video, and many of the figures are dressed in traditional Chinese clothing.
“This is brilliant — it shows Chinese culture to the rest of the world,” commented one Weibo user under the promotional video.
Another netizen summed up our thoughts about the video perfectly, writing, “This is adorable! Good luck to those who are competing.”
While stop-motion videos using clay are not unique to China, this particular style appears to draw inspiration from traditional Chinese clay molding that dates back to the Song Dynasty.
Specifically, the figures resemble Chinese ‘tea pets’ (chachong), which are served on a tray alongside tea. With each serving, drinkers pour tea over the little figurines, causing a gradual color change over time.
It’s a beautifully made video, and a lot of work went into the production. At the end of the clip, you can see the labor-intensive behind-the-scenes process as it unfolds.
The final 40 seconds show a fast-forwarded version of the same shots, with the in-between actions included — a bunch of busy hands and hardware assisting with the motion of each frame.
With just over six weeks until the opening ceremony for the Beijing Winter Olympics, the animation is a welcome reminder of the revelry that lies just over the horizon.
All images via Weibo
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