Giant lanterns to illuminate Edinburgh Zoo

By Wang Mingjie in London | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-07-25 17:06

Chinese giant lanterns will light up this winter at Edinburgh Zoo, which will see an installation of more than 450 of the lights for 50 nights.

The zoo will become the only place in Scotland to host such an event - illuminating west Edinburgh with the glow of 34 colossal, animal-themed lantern installations. The spectacle can be viewed from Dec 1 to Feb 25.

One hundred and fifty Chinese craftsmen from Sichuan will create a trail around the zoo in partnership with the VYA Creative Lantern Company and DDM Entertainment and Events.

During its 104-year history the zoo has been home to many famous animal residents. The UK's only giant pandas, Tian Tian (which means sweetie) and Yang Guang (sunshine) arrived at the zoo in 2011 as part of a 10-year agreement on panda conservation signed by China and the UK.

The partnership to create the lanterns stems from a long-standing relationship between the zoo and Sichuan province, the birth place of Edinburgh's pandas.

Barbara Smith, the zoo's chief executive officer, said: "This winter, Edinburgh Zoo will be transformed by the Giant Lanterns of China, an awe-inspiring installation that will illuminate Edinburgh in spectacular style," she said.

"Edinburgh Zoo has strong ties with China and Chinese culture thanks to our giant pandas. As the only place in Scotland to see these lanterns, the Giant Lanterns of China will encourage local supporters and visitors from around the world to view our animals and conservation work in a new light."

The trail of lanterns will explore three themes: China, Edinburgh Zoo, and the its worldwide animal conservation work.

The craftsmen will produce 34 bespoke installations featuring 469 gigantic lanterns.

It is estimate that the project will take 25,000 man hours of work.

There will be 211 large scale animal-themed lanterns including 30 giant pandas, alongside detailed backdrops of flowers, fauna, insects and Chinese heritage symbols such as signs of the zodiac and traditional archways.

One of the highlights will be a 5.8-meter high and 35-meter long Chinese dragon, guarding the zoo until the event ends during the Chinese Spring Festival.

Each evening of the event, visitors will be entertained with special surprises including performances and food and craft stalls offering visitors a taste of Chinese culture while they explore the epic works of lantern art.

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