Look closely at the tower of elephants on the grounds of Missouri Botanical Garden.
They’re made of porcelain cups and plates.
Chinese artisans worked their magic, creating the elephants and 21 more lantern sets for the Garden’s Lantern Festival: Magic Reimagined that runs through Aug. 23.
Lantern festivals date back thousands of years in China. Today, lantern festivals traditionally mark the Chinese New Year, when complex and ornate lanterns fill cities. To celebrate the Garden’s ongoing botanical research in China, the sets —crafted from silk, steel and porcelain — offer visitors the opportunity to experience an event rarely staged outside of Asia.
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Each set includes information about the design’s tradition, symbolism and meaning. For example, a peacock made from medicine bottles denotes the importance and prominence of traditonal Chinese medicine. The peacock represents good luck, benevolence, elegance and beauty.
The creations — with their bold colors, interesting materials and impressive size — are fun to look at or pose near during the day. But wait till it gets dark to see their spectacular colors against a night sky.
Want to go? Purchase tickets online at www.missouribotanicalgarden.org, at the Garden’s Ridgway Visitor Center or by phone 314-678-7442 or toll-free at 844-461-4655.
When: The Lantern Festival is open 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays evenings through July 31, then nightly from 6-10 p.m. Aug. 1-23.
Cost: $22 adults, $11 members, $10 children ages 3-12, $5 members’ children through July 31; $26 adults, $13 members, $10 children ages 3-12, $5 members’ children. Daytime viewing is included with regular Garden admission from May 23 to Aug. 23