Lantern show merges mist, myth and mechanics in lakeside setting

Yang Yang Tang Yuli
The Xinzhuang Lantern Show, the biggest lantern show in southern Shanghai, is on display through February 26 beside Chunshen Lake in Minhang District.
Yang Yang Tang Yuli
Lantern show merges mist, myth and mechanics in lakeside setting
yang yang / SHINE

The dragon takes center stage in the lantern decorations, symbolizing the animal sign of the Chinese zodiac for the current year.

Yang Yang and Tang Yuli

The annual Xinzhuang Lantern Show, the biggest lantern show in southern Shanghai, has been sparkling under the night sky beside Chunshen Lake since February 6, creating a festive vibe that combines ethereal beauty with the cheers and giggles of visitors until February 26.

Its opening ceremony started with a dragon dance following the banging of gongs and thundering of drums, then a water screen laser fountain show that thrilled viewers with an indigo misty dragon hovering above Chunshen Lake.

The installation is said to have been inspired by Fu Xi, a legendary Chinese ruler, and his relationship to the dragon totem. Legend has it that Fu created the image of the Chinese dragon totem through blending the body of a python, the head of a crocodile, the antlers of a deer, the eyes of a tiger, the scales of a carp, the claws of an eagle, the tale of a shark and the whisker of a catfish.

The water screen laser fountain show will be repeated at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30pm each evening above Chunshen Lake.

The culture of the dragon, the animal sign for the Chinese zodiac this year, is a highlight of the decorations for the lantern show.

Some lanterns have mechanical skeletons inside that enable the mouth of the dragon lantern to exhale smog or the pedals of a lantern base to generate musical notes.

The show also features four entries from the 2nd Xinzhuang Lantern Design Competition. The champion, a work in the local intangible culture heritage Xinzhuang crochet, displays a cozy setting with a granny coaching a young dragon cartoon character on how to stitch the Chinese character "福," meaning "blessings," with Xinzhuang crochet skills.

The work was a creative effort by young designer Zhai Yushun, who is a graduate from East China University of Science and Technology.

"I have been in the trade of visual design since graduation," Zhai said. "I like the cheerful vibe of the lantern show always, therefore signed up for the competition."

Another of Zhai's works – "A Dragon Searching Adventure into a Well" – was accomplished with the assistance of the artificial intelligence-generated content tool Midjourney, and is displayed on the Minhang Skymall at 5001 Dushi Road, a sub-venue of the lantern show.

The making of a lantern goes through seven steps: doing the rendering, doing drawings for construction, adapting a plan into a three-dimensional picture, welding structures for a lantern, adding wires and assembling the lantern, pasting the paper, and the final decoration, according to Xu Pei, a superintendent of the lantern show.

Where to see the lantern show

Hours: Through February 26, 6-9pm


Chunshen Lake at the crossing between Li'an and Xiubo roads


CapitaLand Minhang Plaza at 6088 Humin Rd


Minhang Skymall at 5001 Dushi Rd


6258 Humin Rd 沪闵路6258号

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