THE Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis has been wowing visitors recently with a very special exhibition of garden ornaments, including Chinese lanterns, fire-breathing dragons and a four-faced Buddha garden statue.
The 12-week exhibition, entitled “Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night,” has been organised to celebrate the end of an incredible scientific research project by the garden into the flora of China, which has succeed in cataloguing some 351,000 plant species over the 25-years it has been in operation.
The main body of the exhibition is composed of 26 illuminated silk and moulded steel lantern sets in various colours, carrying various motifs depicting Chinese symbols, myths, legends and sacred themes. These are a far cry from the Chinese paper lanterns commonly in use as garden ornaments, the Garden’s special exhibits and events manager Lynn Kerkemeyer told the local paper, adding: “Ours are incredible, vivid, elaborate sets created from thousands of pieces to form amazing, large-scale works of art.”
The lantern displays have been anchored in grassy areas, ponds and in garden fountains, with shaped steel creating figures resembling humans, animals, plants, buildings and other forms to make a framework for the colourful lanterns themselves.