Making its debut in this 2023 commencement, the Duke Kunshan University mace, designed by Associate Professor of Media and Art Benjamin Bacon and Assistant Professor of Media and Art Vivian Xu, is a symbolic and ceremonial artifact embodying the Sino-American partnership between Wuhan University and Duke University, its global education mission and its interdisciplinary spirit.

The mace was modeled on 15th-century traditional flanged maces with a knob, also known as a finial, at the top of the head. While the Duke Kunshan mace takes its form from tradition, it incorporates modern design elements and concepts that articulate the vision and principles of DKU.

The fusion of cultures is represented in the material choice of the design that merges Western and Asian material cultures – metals often used in traditional Western maces and jade often used in traditional Chinese jewelry and ornament design.


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