"Lanterns of Terracotta Army" Shine for Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year falls on January 31, and in Edinburgh, it is ushered with the Lanterns of Terracotta Army. They are 90 brightly colored, illuminated sculptures crafted by Chinese artist Xia Nan and are installed at the Edinburgh University Old College Quadrangle. Up to 2.5 meters tall, these larger-than-life lantern warriors include men with horses, women, and children. When lit, their bodies shine beautiful hues of red, green, white, and blue. Their structure keeps with the tradition of Chinese lanterns, which traditionally don colorful papers stretched over bamboo or metal framed hoops.

Nan's sculptures were inspired by the famous Terracotta Army, a collection of terracotta sculptures that were discovered in the tomb of the 3rd Century BC Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang in 1974. Within the massive 12,000 square-meter underground vault was an 8,000 warrior army ready to defend the emperor's soul.

This isn't the first time that the contemporary Terracotta Army has made an appearance. The lanterns were originally created for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and have since made their way to Shanghai and other major Chinese cities. This is their first time traveling to Edinburgh, where they will be on display until February 7.

The Lanterns of Terracotta Warriors Exhibition website
via [Lustik and Edinburgh Spotlight]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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