“Europe’s Largest Display of Chinese Lanterns and Illuminations for Festival of Light at Longleat”
by Nancy Connolly via “Bath Chronicle“
Finishing touches are being added to a stunning display of illuminated Chinese scenes at the Longleat estate and visitor attraction in Wiltshire.
A total of around 7,000 individual lanterns, miles and miles of silk and thousands of dazzling LED lights are being used to create a series of stunning tableaux for the Festival of Light at the rural estate.
The highlights of the spectacular event include a 70 metre dragon made up of 23,000 lit porcelain cups, bowls and plates, and mythical creatures called ‘qilin’, which are each made from over 65,000 glass phials filled with coloured liquid.
The outdoor extravaganza also features a 20 metre tall Chinese temple, huge traditional Chinese masks, a family of life size pandas in a bamboo forest, giant elephants and other animals including zebras, lions and deer.
In total, 30 tonnes of steel has been used to build the frames for the illuminated structures.
A team of 100 highly skilled craftsmen from the village of Zigong in China’s Sichuan province have spent six months creating the structures, which will remain at Longleat from November 14 until the New Year.
Written records of lantern festivals in China date back 2,000 years, and Zigong is considered to be their spiritual home.
Bob Montgomery, Longleat’s chief executive, said: “The Festival of Light is something truly unique.
“We are taking the age old tradition of the Chinese lantern and completely transforming it for a modern audience using giant LED illuminated structures.
“There will be around 20 different scenes to explore within 30 acres, featuring literally thousands of individual illuminations, created from a mixture of silk, satin and vinyl.
“Nothing like it has been attempted on this scale before in the UK – it’s about as far away from those familiar lightweight flying lanterns as it is possible to get.”