[OUR ARTEMISIA STORY]
On December 10, 2015, the annual Nobel banquet was set to be held in Stockholm. Reports of the event and the winners and their achievements are shared all over the news media. That day I was on a plane to London and was looking through the local newspaper. Unlike previous years,I noticed this year’s winner was a Chinese person and even moreso the winner was a woman. Of course my eyes naturally went over to the page introducing China’s first Nobel Prize awarded in the Natural Sciences, won by Youyou Tu. Tu’s innovation and research on the usage artemisia annua in drugs to fight malaria have effectively reduced the mortality rates of this disease. This has greatly benefitted the residents of many poor areas of the world and has also has brought attention to the application of Chinese herbal medicine in modern medicinal practice.
Having lived in Sweden for over twenty years, I truly felt that the hometown of the founder of modern biological classification, Carl von Linneaus (Carl von Linne) has a deep respect for nature and a love of plants and traditional culture. This appreciation has a great impact on the people’s lives and can be seen in the well known Scandinavian design, where designers often draw inspiration from nature. In China, where I was born and raised, there is long tradition of mankind using nature and plants. Youyou Tu also found inspiration from ancient Chinese medicinal records. Ge Hong’s “Zhou Hou Bei Ji Fang” contained information about the plant, artemisia annua, which was said to treat malaria. Tu continued to do research on this until she discovered and extracted artemisinin which successfully treats malaria, the terrible disease that has claimed countless lives throughout history. This ignited within me the impulse to apply the Swedish respect and admiration for nature to this plant from the east, artemisia annua, that has helped improve the well-being of human society by defeating the horrific disease. It is from my years of living overseas that have given me the opportunity to understand both Chinese and Western cultures, leading me to choose the design theme of artemisia annua. Using a Nordic plant-inspired theme, I have created a sleeker, more cosmopolitan way of praising Chinese history, culture and tradition in plant medicine. I hope to promote the continuation of protecting and respecting the plant life and encourage the younger generations of today to tap into traditional Chinese culture in order to contribute to further progress in human science and technology. At the same time, this design is also praise and admiration for the Chinese traditional maedicine and I hope to spread the brilliance of ancient Chinese culture to the world.
A product of the combination of Chinese and western cultures, the “Artemisia” series designs were inspired by the plant artemisia annua, from where 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine Prize Winner Youyou Tu extracted artemsinin from. I have combined Western design elements with my unique standpoint as a returnee to China to create designs to represent my love for China. Along with the perspective of the younger generations, we have formed many unique designs that we still seek to patent, using the artemisia leaf. We will continue to make new designs and products incorporating the artemisia leaf in our mission to admire and spread Chinese traditional culture.
[Figure from The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015 Press Release]
在瑞典生活了二十多年，深深地感觉到这个现代生物学分类命名的奠基人卡尔冯·林奈 （Carl von Linné)的家乡，有着对大自然的尊重及对植物热爱的文化与传统，而这种文化与传统也深刻地影响着人们的生活，比如在著名的北欧设计中，设计师的灵感常常是来自大自然与植物的。而在我出生长大的中国，有着上千年运用自然与植物为人类生活服务的传统。屠呦呦也正是受到古老的医药典籍，东晋名医葛洪的《肘后备急方》中有关一种植物青蒿治疟的启发，发现了青蒿素，征服了这个在人类历史的发展中，夺去无数生命的病魔。就在那个时刻，心中突然有一种冲动，那就是用瑞典文化中对待自然与植物的尊重和赞美的方式，来赞美这个生长在东方的，给人类社会带来福祉，战胜了可怕病魔的植物－青蒿。正是基于海外生活多年的生活经历及对中西文化的了解，促使我选择了青蒿这个设计题材。用北欧以植物为设计灵感与题材，用更时尚，更国际化的方式，来赞美中国的、已经有着上千年医药历史的这个特殊的植物，在中国本土，培养人们对大自然的尊重，激发人们对植物的热爱与保护的热情，鼓励年轻一代从中国传统文化中挖掘现代社会所需要，造福人类科学技术，同时，这样的设计也是对中国传统医药的赞美及对中国古老灿烂文化的传播。