This January, League of Legends launched the new Chinese porcelain-inspired skins. This new skin series has generated passionate discussion among the League of Legends fans. Many players are deeply fascinated and intrigued by the blue-and-white porcelain style from China.
The beauty of blue-and-white porcelain has captivated people around the globe for hundreds of years. Originated from China, its craftsmanship has been adopted by multiple countries, which integrated it with their own unique cultural motifs. Today, this beautiful memory has been reawakened in the digital universe of League of Legends and shared by players from all over the world.
At the same time, with the cooperation between League of Legends and People’s Cultural Creative, the “Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content Creation Program” has been launched. Through this program, the artists hope to share the cultural memory of Porcelain with the global community of League of Legends.
The Young Talents Unified by Passion
Through the “Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content Creation Program”, many young artists, students, and art historians get the opportunity to illustrate their understanding of Porcelain in the digital space.
One of the unique artwork in the Chinese porcelain-inspired skins series is the design of Porcelain Amumu. The culinary students from Shanxi New East Culinary School make Amumu into a Fondant Cake between Porcelain plates.
Amumu’s new skin is the most groundbreaking design in Chinese porcelain-inspired skins. It integrates the elegancy of Porcelain with the sorrow within Amumu’s story, thus creating a lovable and touching character. One of the Amumu players said, “This is what I need for Amumu. He has been living a life of desperation for too long. In the end, it’s time to give him the happiness he deserves.” Another player said, “it’s just like the old proverb said:‘April showers bring May flowers.’I hope Amumu can have a sweet life.”
As the largest and most influential E-sports platform in the world, League of Legends gathered hundreds of millions players from the globe. For “Generation Z”, E-sport created a digital space for them to share and communicate with no barriers.
As a competitive multiplayer game, the League of Legends has a layered, creative and beautiful universe. Its characters, scenes, and storylines attracted fans with different cultural backgrounds. At the same time, it also absorbed cultural elements around the globe, making the universe more diverse, unique, and epic.
Blue and white porcelain is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding cultural creations in human history. Through its thousand years’ development, blue and white porcelain have become the vessel of Chinese culture, Western culture, Middle Eastern culture, and modern culture. As the blue and white porcelain skin entered the League of Legends universe, this beautiful art style can also flourish in the world of Runeterra.
To better introduce blue and white porcelain into the League of Legends universe, Professor Deng Fei from the Institute of Literature and History of Fudan University, and Professor Hu Xiaojun from the School of Art and Archaeology of Zhejiang University have also joined the development team. They help “fashionized” the blue and white porcelain design to make it more appealing to contemporary audiences while keeping its traditional aesthetic and motifs.
Professor Deng Fei from the Institute of Literature and History of Fudan University
Professor Hu Xiaojun from the School of Art and Archaeology of Zhejiang University
Students from the Academy of Fine Arts of Shanxi University teamed up with the Shanxi Enamel Museum, recreated the classic blue-and-white porcelain “General Vase” in the Chinese porcelain-inspired skins. Its bold design made it one of the most distinctive series in the league of legend history. Their success proves that the incorporation of digital culture and traditional culture is possible.
The students from the Department of Industrial Design and Dyeing and Weaving from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts also created a “Pop-Up Book” for the Chinese porcelain-inspired skins. Combing the blue-and-white porcelain style and the design of Shenyang’s landmark, it made the characters of League of Legends become alive. It shows the beauty of blue and white porcelain can be illustrated in many different art forms.
The young artists who designed “General Vase” and “Pop-up Books” have infused great passion into their work. Through the “Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content creation Program”, these talented artists made traditional Chinese aesthetics shine in the digital universe.
Before the Spring Festival, with the support of the “Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content Creation Program”, 12 famous Chinese calligraphers created the world’s first “Fu” NFTs, which includes the “Fu” handwritten by 12 celebrated Chinese calligraphers and the traditional blue-and-white porcelain pattern. It was instantly sold out. With the support technologies, traditional art can be quickly adopted into the latest form of art collection. In the MV produced by the Tianjin Conservatory of Music, the musicians used traditional flutes、pipa、erhu, and bamboo sheng to compose the soundtrack for a promotional animation for the Chinese porcelain-inspired skins. This highlighted how Blue and White Porcelain become the medium for the traditional instruments to enter the age of digital culture.
The Blue and White Porcelain “General Vase”
The Blue and White Porcelain “Pop-up books”
The “Fu” NFTs web-page
The Blue and White Porcelain themed MV
The famous Chinese modern ceramist, Professor Xie Xiaoming explain the craftsmanship of Blue and White Porcelain
In another MV, the singer dressed in digital art style used the song to interpret the past and present of Jingdezhen, the thousand-year-old porcelain capital. If it was a few years ago, such crossover might not have been recognized by mainstream audiences. Nowadays, this newly created MV has received the support of the Jingdezhen Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism. With their help, the program invited Professor Xie Xiaoming, the inheritor of Jingdezhen ceramic decoration, to explain the craftsmanship of blue and white porcelain. He also praised the cultural significance for blue and white porcelain to enter the League of Legends universe and the “Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content Creation Program”.
At the same time, such cooperation also helped Jingdezhen to find new ways and platforms for cultural exchange and export. By introducing Blue and White Porcelain into to digital universe, the city government hopes to vitalize the traditional blue-and-white porcelain culture by making it a “living heritage”.
At the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, director Zhang Yimou presented traditional culture and ideas to the world with stunning effects through technology and innovative art expressions. The “Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content Creation Program” is trying to achieve the same goal. It is an open cultural project driven by interests and ideas from the younger generation. With their passion and energy, we are aiming to start a cultural trend.
Improve presence in digital culture through inclusivity
Today, the digital space mainly composed of E-sports, virtual reality technology, and social media platforms is becoming richly colorful. The digital culture should no longer be regarded as a niche culture. With the creation of the “Metaverse” concept based on digital space, digital space may soon become a key field for determining the future leadership of modern culture.
In history, blue and white porcelain once made Chinese culture shine in the West. The goal of global intercultural communication was achieved hundreds of years ago.
The blue-and-white porcelain was invented in the Tang Dynasty, but it did not flourish until the Yuan Dynasty. The main reason for this is that the international trade in the Yuan dynasty makes it possible for cobalt, the essential material for blue and white Porcelain, to be imported into China in large quantities from Mesopotamia. On the other hand, blue-and-white porcelain with exquisite patterns is popular outside of China. As a result, the blue-and-white porcelain from Yuan Dynasty had integrated many Middle Eastern and even European-style decorations, patterns, and shapes into its design, which also enriched the Chinese porcelain culture. By the Ming Dynasty, blue and white porcelain was not only a popular commodity, but also a vessel for cultural exchange. Chinese-style decorations, paintings, and history stories were continuously exported to the West through blue and white porcelain, which made many western scholars at that time view China as the pinnacle of civilization.
Let’s return to the League of Legends. The reason why it has been able to create a rich and vivid digital space in less than 15 years is that it can meet the entertainment and communication needs of people around the world, which created a massive player base. At the same time, it established a culturally incisive platform that allows elements of different cultural systems to be integrated into the space.
In this situation, despite blue-and-white porcelain and league of legends having taken different forms in the cultural exchange, both of them are culture carriers that are based on cultural innovation and inclusivity.
Nowadays, instead of just leaving these historical and cultural heritages in textbooks and museums, we can still read the texts written thousands of years ago, and rely on the thoughts of the ancient sages as inner sustenance. This proves that continuous innovation and culture are the keys for a culture to survive and prosper. This is also the core of Chinese culture.
Blue and white porcelain is an ancient innovation product, and digital space is a contemporary innovation product. The fusion of Chinese culture and digital culture is likely to be one of the most important paths for Chinese cultural innovation in the future.
Therefore, from a short-term perspective, the entry of blue-and-white porcelain into League of Legends just set off a trend of Chinese style and caused a wave of heated discussions about cultural heritage. From a long-term perspective, it is more important for us to take inspiration from it and think about how to extend Chinese traditional culture into the digital age.
“Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content Creation Program” documentary
Chinese culture not only has withstood the test of history, but also has inherited the inclusive spirit. It is not only supported by the national power, but also protected by the gross root preservers. Chinese culture should not be absent from the digital space, nor will it be absent.
Therefore, whether we focus on exporting Chinese culture to the world or the future of digital culture, the “Blue and White Porcelain Chinese Style Content creation Program” between People’s Cultural Creative and League of Legends is a good start and is heading to the right direction.