Recently, the Panlong City Ruins Academy announced its official mascot 尨尨 (Mangmang). According to the staff of the academy, Mangmang, whose name implies "guardianship and inheritance," is inspired by the watchdog Huzi in the academy. Badges of Mangmang are available now, and commemorative coins, stationary, dolls, and other souvenirs related products of mascots are expected to come out later.

Dogs considered significant by Shang people

The Panlong City Ruins is an early Shang dynasty city site that boasts the most distinctive layout and richest relics along the Yangtze River valley. It has a history of 3,500 years and is the first local archaeological site that has been designated a national-level archaeological park. With a planned area of 4.22 square kilometers, it is expected to officially open this year.

The academy gave three reasons to explain why they favor dogs as mascots. For one thing, dogs occupied an important position in Shang dynasty because they were believed to have the functions of guarding the tomb owner, showing directions and communicating with gods. For another, dogs embody the spirit of "guardianship" and can best convey the academy's hope of attracting more people to join the cause of cultural preservation. Additionally, the Panlong City Ruins Museum will open in 2018, the Year of the Dog.

Character '尨' chosen for rich meaning

"尨," an unfamiliar character for most people, was selected for the name of the mascot from more than ten potential names, according to Panlong City Ruins Academy.

The character was chosen for its heteronym. When pronounced as "máng," it refers to a dog. When pronounced as "méng," it implies a fluffy and adorable image, much like a dog's appearance. When pronounced "lóng," it is synonymous with "龙 (dragon)" and echoes the name of the ruins "Panlong," literally meaning a circling dragon. When pronounced "páng," it is interchangeable to "庞 (huge)," indicating that the cultural legacy of the Panlong City Ruins are significant and profound.

The pronunciation "máng" stood out for its catchiness.

Image of Mangmang inspired by studious dog

The mascot's designer Li Ziyi majored in archeology at university. Li  said that she was inspired by the academy's watchdog, Huzi. Upon meeting this cute creature in the academy, she quickly drew a sketch. After several months of revisions, she finally worked out the current image of Mangmang.

Huzi is a smart and handsome dog less than a year old. He loves to be with people and seems to be apt to learn. Be it a museum exhibition, site preservation, or an archaeological excavation conference, Huzi never fails to show up. When evenings fall, he helps security staff guard the academy along with other watchdogs.

Stories behind designs of Mangmang

Over ten images of the mascot Mangmang have been released now.

Among them, the basic model is a lively and cute dog from the Shang dynasty. It is dressed in an aristocratic costume of this period, with overall design based on the Jade Figure of Shang dynasty unearthed from the Ruins of Yin in Anyang. The yellow clothing symbolizes the Yellow River and China's Central Plains where Shang culture once dominated, and the blue front and belt symbolizes the Yangtze River and Wuhan. Such a combination indicates that the Panlong City Ruins are both influenced by ancient cultures from Central Plains and the Yangtze River valley. The designs on the clothes feature huiwen, a traditional Chinese fretwork pattern found on a hollowed-out bronze wine cup unearthed in these ruins. The designs on the red cloth panel attached from the waist belt is a beast-face ornament unearthed there as well.

The other released drawings of Mangmang include one dressed in a more sophisticated aristocratic costume, a safety officer costume, and one holding a bronze tomahawk.