SEA Games medals highlight Vietnamese cultural features

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Lê Hương

Around 4,000 gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to the best athletes at the upcoming SEA Games, though people know that the medal set has been cast from a metal mixture of copper and zinc, 85 per cent of which is red copper.

Design for SEA Games 31 medal sets. — Photos courtesy of SEA Games organiser

Each medal is 5mm thick with one side featuring the SEA Games mascot, a Sao La (Asian unicorn), while the other has a raised SEA Games logo.

According to the Games organisers, the logo bears the image of a flying bird and a V-letter formed hand, which represent the hands of athletes as they sing their national anthems. The blue wings signify a strong-willed spirit and the desire to conquer peaks as well as the brotherhood and friendship of countries in the region.

The gold medal is gilded with 24k gold, the silver is silver-plated and the bronze medal is copper plated. To enhance their longevity, each medal is covered with four layers of gold, silver and copper, respectively.

The straps for the medals are not made of satin or silk as with other kinds of medals, but woven fabric, making them stronger.

The rare Sao La, this SEA Games mascot, appears on one side of the medal.

Painter Nguyễn Văn Hùng, from the Việt Nam Cartoon Studio, said he was proud to design the medal. Hùng also designed the medal set for the Asian Beach Games in 2016.

“I should say thanks to the Games organisers, who chose my design for SEA Games 31,” he said.

“I was inspired by traditional patterns and Việt Nam sightseeing. My medal design gathers the logo and mascot of this SEA Games in a round frame. The image has a good layout in a modern and fresh style.”

Hùng said the mascot stood on a platform, with the logo as the background. Embedded in the logo are famous city sites such as Văn Miếu (the Temple of Literature), Long Biên Bridge and Rồng Bridge.

The other side of the medal has 11 circles representing the 11 member countries of the SEA Games. The main logo is in the background surrounded by various rays, which are layered like leaves in the traditional bamboo hat of the Kinh Bắc (northern plain) people. They also form rays of light, illuminating the logo.

Blocks of images and letters on both sides of the medal are engraved at various heights following sculpture techniques that are perfect in terms of Vietnamese fine art and culture.

Hùng said the medals could not have been completed without the great care of workers who were able to turn the designs into real objects.

“I hope each athlete granted a medal will remember Việt Nam and this unforgettable memory,” he said. “I hope they will be happy when carrying these medals that they have made so much effort to gain. It is their honour that they bring home.”

The design expresses the sporting spirit, friendship and Vietnamese traditional culture.

Hùng stressed that he hoped Vietnamese athletes would win many medals.

Art critic Vũ Đức Bình noted that the medal design met all the criteria in terms of layout, colours, material and decorative patterns for fine art.

“They express the sporting spirit, international friendship and Vietnamese traditional culture,” he said. “The medal is great in both design and content.” — VNS

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