"Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night" made its debut last week at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It will be up most of the summer, until August 19. Go see it. Even under normal circumstances, MOBot is among the most magical places in the city, but the illuminated lanterns turn it into something truly spectacular.
"When most people think of a Chinese 'lantern,' they immediately think of a small, round, hanging paper lantern," Lynn Kerkemeyer, MOBot's special exhibits and events manager, said in a statement. "These are incredible, vivid, elaborate sets created from thousands of peces to form amazing, large-scale pieces of art."
And, as MOBot director Peter Wyse Jackson noted when he announced the festival a year ago, this is the first time there's ever been a lantern festival like this in the U.S.
The lanterns themselves were constructed in Zigong, a city in central China and the nation's lantern capitol. (Hey, you've got to be known for something.) They were shipped over here earlier this spring -- it took four shipping containers to hold them all -- and then assembled inside the garden.
There are 26 lantern sets in all. Most of the lanterns are steel frames covered in silk. Like this:
But there are exceptions. This smoke-breathing dragon, which hovers over the central reflecting pools...
...is made of approximately 40,000 pieces of porcelain dishware tied together like so:
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