Well, the Beijing 2008 Olympics are set to start, am anxiously awaiting to see the opening ceremonies myself. I'm tired of hearing all about the pollution and the tight security going on in and around Beijing so the ceremony should be a welcome relief to kick off the Olympics.
The Chinese have selected five 'Fuwa', or good-luck dolls as mascots. The designs were created by Han Meilin a famous Chinese artist. Interestingly enough, although he was given artistic license in his commission, he was subsequently requested by officials to include various Chinese design and fauna in the Fuwa. He drew 1,000 models of possible Fuwa before settling on the five characters. He has since disowned the Fuwa and did not include them in his museum. Bummer.
One of the Fuwa is a male giant panda named Jing Jing. The page from the Olympics website that describes each of the mascots, describes Jingjing "The lotus designs in Jinjing's headdress, which are inspired by the porcelain paintings of the Song Dynasty (A.D.960-1234), symbolize the lush forest and harmonious relationship between man and nature. Jingjing was chosen to represent our desire to protect nature's gifts and to preserve the beauty of nature for all generations. Jingjing is charmingly naive and optimistic. He is an athlete noted for strength who represents the black Olympic ring"
There is also a cute video of all five of the mascots to view, where they all interact together, I love the artwork.