Chinese Terracotta Warriors lanterns march into Edinburgh

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How would you feel about taking a wee trip to the Far East in the coming few days? It’s cost-free and you won’t even get that unpleasant jet-lag feeling, but instead you’ll be rewarded with one of those amazing WOW moments as Scotland, along with the rest of the world, is gearing up for yet another New Year party this Friday, 31 January.

Heralding the imminent Chinese New Year 2014, the University of Edinburgh brings a great swathe of China to the Old College Quadrangle where the world-famous art installation of larger-than-life lantern warriors has just marched into. They will be on display between 29 January – 7 February from 4 – 9pm.

Designed by Chinese artist Xia Nan for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, the multi-coloured spectacle was inspired by the army of ancient Chinese terracotta warriors which was created to defend the inner soul of the 3rd century BC First Chinese Emperor Qui Shi Huang. Placed in his tomb, it wasn’t until 1974 when a group of farmers, when they were digging a water well, discovered the underground vault of 12,000 square metres that comprised of more than 8,000 terracotta sculptures depicting warriors and horses arranged in a battle formation.

The artist uses traditional Chinese lantern designs to re-imagine this impressive archaeological discovery. There will be as many as 90 brightly coloured figures which are lit from within and stand at around 2.5 m tall. They include men with horses as well as women and children.

Natasha Gentz from university’s Confucius Institute explained:

People of all ages are sure to be wowed by the scale and beauty of the lanterns, while also learning about this important aspect of Chinese history.

I, for one, am dying to go and see this fascinating exhibition for I have been to the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’an, China, and seen this fascinating historical discovery for myself. And considering that it’s only at a stone’s throw away, there is no excuse not to go.

The event marks the beginning of the Year of the Horse which, along with the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ celebrations, represents energy, hope and fortune for the coming year, so with this in mind – Xin Nian Kuai Le. Or simply Happy New Year again to you all and long live the wooden horse, as the Chinese would say!

If you’ve not yet picked your New Year’s resolution, why not take this opportunity to pause for a moment and plan what challenges you’re going to set yourself for this year? If you need ideas and inspirations, we’ve got just the thing for you – New Year’s resolution with a Scottish twist. And if you’ve missed your opportunity to see the Terracotta Warriors lanterns exhibition, don’t worry – there’re plenty other ways to get your cultural fix. Check out my fellow bloggers Sarah and Sophie’s articles on Edinburgh’s art venues and amazing art installations across Scotland that will light up the still dark-ish February nights.

On top of the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup coming to Scotland this summer, we’ve prepared for you a year-long programme of #homecoming2014 events and activities to showcase the very best of Scotland. You can choose from mouth-watering food & drink events, wildlife festivals and celebrations of our natural parks as well as events that showcase Scotland’s art and cultural scene and the fantastic natural playground.

Scotland is packed with #brilliantmoments – you just have to decide what it’s going to be for YOU.

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Aldona Krzemien

Media Editor at VisitScotland
Originally from Poland, she's now based in Edinburgh and can't imagine life without four things: travels, photography, fishing for antiques and haggis!