The beginning of this review started with a bit of history about the Missouri Botanical Gardens as well as information on the Lantern Festival 2012. In this part I will be showing you are trip through ‘Art by Day’.
We arrived just before 6:00pm CST when the doors to the garden are opened and waited in the upstairs of the Ridgeway Center where they had the Faces of the Chinese Opera aligned on the walls. The colors of each mask actually tell a story all their own. Can you guess what color the evil villain wears? You’d be surprised!
The Ridgeway Center is actually beautiful in and of itself. It holds the Garden Gate Shop, Sassafras Cafe’, many art galleries as well as welcomes everyone into the garden. One of my favorite pieces inside of the Ridgeway Center is this amazing piece of art.
It was opened in 1982 and the design was inspired by the Crystal Palace of the 1851 Great Expedition in London. The Blue Chandelier was created by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly and hangs from the atrium, visible through the front window. It was assembled on site (in mid-air!) in 2006 as a preview to the “Glass in the Garden”. It is really incredible to see during the day when the sun is shining on it. It is 6’20’ and weighs over 2300 lbs!
The Dragon Embracing the Pillars greets you on the other side of the doors and rises from the Garden’s Latzer Fountain. The Dragon is an important symbol is Chinese culture and is one of the 12 Eastern Zodiac signs. 2012 is The Year of the Dragon! It also happens to be my husband’s sign. The dragon symbolizes luck, nobility, bravery, strength and knowledge.
This was my son’s favorite place to be. He loved seeing the blue water and the giant dragon. It was actually pretty difficult to get him away from it!
Next to the Latzer Fountain in the Swift Family Garden are the Lotus Flowers, this was one of my favorites. Lotus Flowers are so beautiful. They represents strength, good luck, long life, honor and respect and the universal symbol for our spirit.
Did you know there is a part of the Lotus Flower that is pickled and used in salads?
In the Gladney Rose Garden there is also the Lotus Ponds. Here the Lotus Ponds represent a symbol of our aspirations to rise towards the light.
One of the most amazing pieces (in my opinion) at the Lantern Festival that is a must see is the Porcelain Dragon. It is created from tens of thousands of Chinese utensils and porcelain dishes and is brought together by traditional hand-tying techniques. It is incredible.
There is not just ONE Porcelain Dragon either, there are two, both facing the Milles Sculpture Garden.
I have always loved this garden, but with the lanterns and the dragons, it really makes the whole place magical.
Once you move past the Porcelain Dragons, you enter the areas where they have most of the Lanterns. Each Lantern has a story and are just as beautiful during the day as they are at night when lit up. I really enjoyed going through the gardens and reading the history of each of the myths that have been passed down for centuries.
|The Moonlit Pathway|
|Double Seventh Festival|
|The First Emperors Quest for Immortality|
One of the largest of the Lanterns is the Four-Faced Buddha. This Lantern set is designed with reference to the temple in the Chinese city of Xian
|Four Faced Buddha|
Each of the lantern’s four sides depicts a different portrayal of the Buddha and represents one of the four traditional Buddhist postures; the significance of the four-faced Buddha was to offer help to people in need and grant them their wishes, so it is believed there is significance in the religious items held in its hands and postures.
It was a very, very hot evening. Thankfully the Botanical Gardens had misters and areas you could go to cool off inside with air-conditioning. When you have a little toddler that loves to run around at full speed no matter how warm it is, little things like this are very much appreciated.
I loved the Bazaar as well. There was lots of beautiful crafts, clothing and artwork to shop for as well as plenty of delicious food to eat!
You can also purchase Red Hook Beer on tap and wine in all the beautiful hues at the booths that are set up and at the little bar next to the Bazaar.
After we had our tummies filled with sublime goodness, we had to walk through the Zodiac Lanterns! I’m a Monkey! What’s your Eastern Sign?
Evening was starting to turn a little dark, it was 30 minutes until the Lanterns were going to be lit and we had just enough time to catch the ChenLong Troupe, an evening performance of the ancient dramatic art of bian lain, or face-changing, a very surprising extraordinary juggler and a very outstanding acrobatic performance of strength, skill and contortion that I still to this day am awed by.
However, that was when the ‘Magic by Night’ began, when we made our Anniversary Wish at the Wishing Tree, when the Dragons began breathing fire… and that is for another story….
I was given tickets to attend the Lantern Festival 2012 and share my story with our readers. Opinions are my own and/or my families and are not influenced by any form of compensation. Photos in this post that are marked are owned by me, unmarked photos are owned and provided by MoBot.