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.