Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Art By Day, Magic By Night"

Over Memorial Day weekend the Missouri Botanical Garden opened a temporary exhibit called Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night.  It's been on our calendar since then, but yesterday Hubby Tony and I finally got around to going.

After seeing it, all I can say is Wow!

When I think of a Chinese lantern, it's small, round, hanging, and paper. The 26 elaborate, larger than life Festival lanterns were works of art which took a team of Chinese artisans two months to construct from silk and steel rods.  They were installed throughout the front half of the garden and wired so they'd glow at night.

We arrived while the sun was still out, which gave us a chance to see most of the lanterns in their "natural" state.  Each portrays an aspect of Chinese culture, history and tradition.  Here's one of the pandas (nestled into a grove of bamboo) from the Panda Paradise:

At 8:00, after everything was lit, we revisited the lanterns.  The change was astounding:

There's no way I could pick a favorite display, but I loved these 10-foot-tall Terracotta Army warriors that stood outside one of the entrances...

and the three-story-tall Heavenly Temple was breathtaking! 

Several lanterns were composed of creatively materials with silk accents. Tiny glass medicine bottles filled with colored water were tied together to create the Qilin, a mythical part dragon, part lion hoofed creature.

Approximately 4,600 recycled plastic water bottles formed the Sail Boat installation.  (They'll be appropriately recycled after the Festival is over.)

The Porcelain Dragons were created from 40,000 individual blue-and-white pieces of porcelain dishware, which were hand-tied together with kite string.

Tony and I had a great time.  There was only one problem with the display--it was very crowded. It was hard to walk from place to place, and hard to get up close.  By the end of the night people were getting a little crabby, but the tiny negatives were far outweighed by the fabulousness of the event.


  1. Fabulous is an understatement. Thanks for taking us.

  2. lovely photos, thanks for sharing!

  3. it looks like a wonderful time!....smiles

  4. Oh wow! These are incredible! It's certainly put me in the mood for the trip to China that we're planning for next year.

  5. Wow, these larger than life Chinese lanterns are amazing! Beautiful shots of amazing work!