So the event's full name was a little cheesy: "Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night." OK, a lot cheesy. It appeared to reference superheroes, bad advertising slogans and a certain subset of pornographic movies. But then we escorted ourselves to the Missouri Botanical Garden to view this lantern festival. Earlier this spring MoBot took delivery of four shipping containers from Zigong, the lantern capital of China, and workers took thousands of bolts of silk and spools of wire, not to mention pieces of porcelain dishes, medicine bottles filled with colored water and plastic water bottles, and assembled them into soldiers, gods, emperors, princesses, dragons and the Qilin, a mythological creature that is a harbinger of prosperity. It was the first time such a display had ever appeared in the United States. It was all pretty impressive by daylight, but then at dusk when the lights went on and the statues and dioramas turned into lanterns, the results were breathtaking. Each piece was still meticulously constructed and beautifully detailed, but it appeared to be made of nothing but color and light. Somehow, technology that was thousands of years old still had the power to awe. It was, yes, magic.
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