Confucius promoted by cartoon imagery

Updated: 2007-05-20 14:00

Producers of a cartoon series that will feature the ancient Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius are soliciting animated imagery of the sage from designers around the globe.

Shenzhen Phoenix Star, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-listed Phoenix Satellite TV, said it was offering 500,000 yuan (about US $64,100) to reward the best designer.

A performer in traditional costume takes a photo in front of a sculpture of ancient philosopher and educator Confucius during a ceremony to celebrate Confucius' 2,557th birth anniversary, inside a Confucian temple in Nanjing, in east China's Jiangsu province September 28, 2006. [Reuters/File Photo]
The company is working with China Confucius Foundation to produce the 100-episode cartoon series, which is part of the latter's efforts to promote Confucianism worldwide.

The series, with each episode lasting 13 minutes, is to recount Confucius' life, the formation of his school of thought and how he enlightened his disciples.

"We've been working to promote Confucianism in different ways and cartoon, as a popular means of dissemination, is apparently one of the most effective ways to popularize the essence of Chinese culture to the overseas audience," said Wang Daqian, deputy secretary-general of the foundation.

The government-backed organization, based in Jinan, east China's Shandong Province, was established in 1984 to raise funds for Confucian studies at home and abroad.

Shandong Province was the birth place of Confucius, the sage who founded Confucianism, a philosophy featuring harmony and peace and constituting the essence of Chinese culture.

The "standardized", "official" portrait of Confucius unveiled by the foundation last year is apparently too dull and serious to become an animated image.

Wang said the producers had offered an additional 2 million yuan (256,000 U.S. dollars) to solicit a script.

The idea of Confucius in cartoon was welcomed by animation industry specialists from many countries, said Zuo Jin, president of the Shenzhen-based Shenbi Animation Co. who proposed to develop the series in the first place.

"Potential buyers from the United States, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Spain and Israel have all expressed their interest in the series," Zuo said during the ongoing Third China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industry Fair (ICIF).

He said the global network of Confucius Institutes teaching foreigners Chinese had made the ancient sage more popular today.

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