court lantern DSC_0203

DIA800xH800mm, China

It is believed that the first court lantern was made for Emperor Liu Xiu, 23 A.D., after successfully unifying the country he held a large banquet in the palace, decorated with ribbons and lanterns.  Until the Sui dynasty, the court lantern is restricted for the use in the palace.  On the coronation of Emperor Wen, 590 A.D., the city Lou Yang held a bit celebration with nightly banquets, operas and court lanterns hanging throughout.  Since then, on the day of  Yuan Xiao every family will hang up court lanterns on the main beam of the living room.

This is the wooden frame of the lantern, a decorative silk or glass panels.  The frame can be folded up nicely for storage till the next Yuan Xiao festival.

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