The Festive History of the Rice Paper Lantern

Throughout China and Asian cultures paper lanterns (also known as rice paper lights, paper lamps, Chinese paper lighting) have long been symbols of joy and celebration. Created from a superb combination of oiled paper stretched on wood or bamboo frames, this creatively designed lighting piece was originally used in joyous celebrations such as weddings, births, birthdays and even festivals.

Throughout my lifetime I have seen these decorative yet delicately balanced lamps/lanterns used throughout all kinds of cultures and environments. From college dorm rooms to fancy restaurants and of course festivals.

However, not all believe that these great lighting fixtures resemble happiness. Some are under the impression that these are cheaply made items that bother their environmental ambiance.

Oh but on the contrary these happy lights have a history dating all the way back to the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D to 907 A.D.) First put into play by an emperor that had envisioned the construction of 30 enormous lantern towers at 1,500 feet high and then decorated with precious gems including silver, gold and jade.

The lantern experiment was such a success that the tradition continued on and expanded into a wide variety of lighting including silk and rice paper lanterns of all shapes and colors.


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