Chinese Lantern 燈籠


Dublin Core


Chinese Lantern 燈籠


Light, Festival, Entertainment


Originated from Eastern Han Dynasty, paper lanterns were mainly used as lamps in ancient China. Paper and silk were the major materials used for manufacturing.


Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD)


Sky Lantern


Various dimensions



Crafts Item Type Metadata

Crafting Methods

The materials for making a lantern are very simplistic. Historically, bamboo, wood, rattan, or wire was used for the frame. The shade was crafted from delicate paper or silk. Lanterns were often decorated with Chinese calligraphy, painting, paper cutting, and even embroidery.


Bamboo / Wood / Rattan / Wire, Paper / Silk

Usage and Application

The original use of lanterns was primarily as a light source. They were used both indoors and out to provide a shaded light for reading and working. The protection from wind provided by the decorative silk or paper shade kept the lanterns from going out with the breeze.

In ancient China, they were used to provide light and eventually as aspects of Buddhist worship. Moreover, they are used for decoration, celebration and festivals. For examples, lanterns hung at Chinese New Year are thought to scare aware the Nian monster and bring good luck.

The Lantern Festival is one of the best days to view Chinese lanterns in action. It is always held on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month. The festival is viewed as the end to the Chinese New Year celebrations and is celebrated with the release of floating and flying lanterns.

Interesting Facts

Originally, monks used lanterns on the twelfth day of the first lunar month in their worship of the Buddha. During the Eastern Han Dynasty, the Emperor Liu Zhuang was a Buddhist and he ordered the inhabitants of the imperial palace and citizens to light lanterns to worship the Buddha just as the monks did. Later, this custom gradually became a grand festival among common people.



“Chinese Lantern 燈籠,” CCCH9051 Group 64, accessed February 6, 2023,

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