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The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors were originally commissioned for the Beijing Olympics Games in 2008, inspired by the famous ‘terracotta army’ accidentally uncovered in 1974 in the tomb of China’s First Emperor and widely regarded as the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World.

Artist Xia Nan’s brightly coloured lanterns bring together two key features of Chinese art and culture – the compelling story of the terracotta army alongside the 2000-year-old tradition of lantern-making.

The lanterns have been displayed in several iconic locations across the globe including Sydney Harbour, Zagreb, Prague, Edinburgh and Manchester. This exhibition is part of a wider programme of Wellington-based events that support the China New Zealand Year of Tourism 2019.

With the agreement and support of the artist, a small satellite cluster of four terracotta warrior lanterns will feature as part of this month’s Chinese New Year Festival at TSB Arena and then the Wellington Lantern Festival on Cuba Street. This installation also draws attention to the real terracotta warriors that are currently being displayed inside Te Papa.

The lanterns will be turned on each evening from 8pm – midnight. Please be gentle with the lanterns, they are very fragile.

Share your terracotta lantern snaps using #SHAREMEWLG and win spot prizes! 


Free public lecture

Xia Nan will be delivering a free public lecture about the art of lantern-making at Soundings Theatre in Te Papa at 11am on Saturday 16 February 

WellingtonNZ.com along with the Wellington City Council and Te Papa are excited to be bringing 'The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors' to Wellington this summer, from the  5-24 February 2019.

Commissioned for the Beijing Olympics Games in 2008, the acclaimed exhibition has subsequently appeared in iconic locations across the globe including Sydney Harbour, Zagreb, Prague, Edinburgh and Manchester. Inspired by the famous ‘terracotta army’ accidentally uncovered in 1974 in the tomb of China’s First Emperor and widely regarded as the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World, artist Xia Nan’s brightly coloured lanterns, which stand at more than two metres tall, bring together two key features of Chinese art and culture – the compelling story of the Terracotta Army alongside the 2000 year old tradition of lantern-making.

The exhibition is made up of 38 warrior figures and 2 horses and will be on display at the Te Papa forecourt, free to the public over the Chinese New Year period.

View this event on Eventfinda