JUNE 2, 2011 -- The Missouri Botanical Garden will host an international exhibition of 26 larger-than-life, lighted works of art from Zigong, China in 2012. "Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night" invites visitors to experience one of China's most treasured events and ancient traditions – the annual lantern festival. Elaborate outdoor sets crafted of silk and steel will celebrate Chinese culture through bold color, dazzling light and striking design. The exhibition is the first of its kind and size in the United States, offering visitors a unique opportunity to witness a spectacle rarely staged outside of Asia.
Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden will be on outdoor display May 26 through August 19, 2012. View the art by day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; experience the illuminated magic by night, Thursday through Sunday evenings from 6 to 10 p.m. Emerson, a global manufacturing and technology company based in St. Louis, is the presenting sponsor of Lantern Festival.
"As one of the region's premier cultural attractions, the Missouri Botanical Garden is delighted to bring an international event of this caliber to the St. Louis area," said Peter Wyse Jackson, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden. "The Garden has a long-tenured tradition of botanical research and collaboration with China through our Flora of China project, a significant endeavor, which we anticipate completing at the end of 2012. Coupled with the presence of our beautiful Chinese Garden, the Grigg Nanjing Friendship Garden, it seemed only fitting for the Garden to host the first Lantern Festival in the country, celebrating in what will be our 'Year of China.'"
Lantern festivals are deeply rooted in Chinese history and myth, dating back to the ancient dynasties of more than 2,000 years ago. In modern times, lantern festivals traditionally culminate the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year. Giant, ornate lanterns of complex design fill cities with light in vivid, festive spectacles.
A team of 35 to 40 skilled artisans from Zigong in the western province of Sichuan, the center of the lantern-making industry in China, will spend two months in residence at the Missouri Botanical Garden to construct 26 elaborate, multi-piece sets from scratch. Working from reference drawings, sets begin as large outlines on the ground. Steel rods are carefully placed and welded together to fashion the framework of each figure. Structures are draped with specially-treated Chinese silk, designed to withstand outdoor display for several months. Silk is secured to frame edges with a gold trim. The final creations are lit from within or adorned with an exterior piping of lights, giving them a brilliant evening glow.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63110. For more information about "Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night," visit www.mobot.org/lanternfestival.
Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden.
Source: Missouri Botanical Garden Press Release