Chinese warrior lanterns light up quad

Larger-than-life lanterns inspired by ancient Chinese warriors will add a burst of colour to the University this Chinese New Year.

Chinese warrior lanterns

The spectacle was created by Chinese artist Xia Nan for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 - and this is the first time the Warriors will be showcased in Scotland.

Inspired by terracotta army

The lanterns are inspired by the army of terracotta soldiers, discovered in 1974 when the tomb of the 3rd Century BC First Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang was unearthed in the Xi’an province of China.

The figures were found in an underground vault of 12,000 square meters and comprised of more than 8,000 terracotta sculptures depicting warriors and horses arranged in battle formation.

It is thought that they were created to defend the emperor’s immortal soul.


In this short video, Natascha Gentz, Professor of Chinese Studies, talks about the exhibition at Old College.

Traditional technique

Xia Nan has used traditional Chinese lantern designs to re-imagine this awe-inspiring historic discovery.

As many as 90 brightly coloured figures up to 2.5m tall will populate Old College quadrangle. The lantern army includes women and children as well as men with horses.

We are delighted to be showcasing this incredible exhibition to coincide with Chinese New Year. 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.

Professor Natascha GentzDirector of the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh

The Lanterns of Terracotta Warriors

Entry is free.

Wednesday 29 January 2014, 4.00pm

Friday 7 February 2014, 9.00pm

Quadrangle, Old College, South Bridge, EH8 9YL

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The exhibition has been coordinated by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Event International, with funding and support from the Confucius Institute for Scotland and with thanks to Chaoyang Cultural Centre, Beijing.

Photography courtesy Laurence Winram.