For inspiration, you can watch a lantern video and view lantern display pictures. From the video and pictures, you can get ideas of how our lanterns are used at weddings and events.
We also offers a paper lantern wholesale option when you purchase in bulk quantities. We know that you will be more than satisfied with what you find here in our top-of-the-line assortment of Japanese and Chinese paper lanterns. Have a look through our selection. Prices range from $1.50 to $850!
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Learn more about Chinese paper lanterns history, how paper lanterns are made, and lantern festivals throughout Asia.
Brief History of Paper Lanterns
There is nothing more lovely and vibrant than bright Chinese paper lanterns
that stand out especially during night time. Decorative paper lanterns are traditionally used for cultural celebrations and festivals such the Chinese New year. Today, paper lanterns
are used for almost every occasion, from weddings to parties, as they now come in almost every imaginable colors, shapes, and sizes.
The history of Chinese lanterns
dates back about two thousand years ago. However, these colorful lanterns
were not first used for decorative purposes. Instead, it was created for military aid purposes. A popular military strategist Zhuge Liang created the first flying lantern in China. According to accounts, the shape of the first paper lantern was patterned after the hat that Liang was wearing. It was made from oiled rice paper fitted on a bamboo frame. Inside, a small candle produces the hot air, which then allows the balloon to rise up.
Similarly, these paper lanterns were also used in many ceremonial practices such as weddings. White gauze paper lanterns were often utilized during these ceremonies along with four red paper letters attached to it. The characters adorned on the lanterns would include expressions regarding respect as well as wishes for a hundred children and a thousand grandchildren.Paper lanterns
were also used to represent the return of spring. Lantern festivals are usually held during this time. Chinese people believe that Lantern Festivals
symbolizes the relation of people, nature, and higher beings which made it possible for the light of the spring to return every year.
Types of Paper Lanterns Available Nowaways
With its history going back thousands of years, paper lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and designs have evolved for numerous uses. The following are the 5 popular types of lanterns available in the market today.
Round Paper Lanterns
Round paper lanterns are sphere like lamp shades with hollow centers, but their height is slightly less than their diameter. This is our best selling shape. They are available in almost very color imaginable from white to red to fuchsia to pink to green and more.
The size of the lantern is named after its diameter, and this is measured when it is flat. The circumference (C) of the lantern is 3.14 (Pi) multiplied by its diameter (D); (C = 3.14*D)
Considered as the most traditional of the classic lantern shapes, they are quite popular for their exotic look and festive appeal. They are often used in celebrations or to give gardens and homes that decorative look. This style of the paper lantern is considered as the most widely available.
Wedding Paper Lanterns
As the name suggests, wedding paper lanterns are present during the celebration of marriage. Wedding paper lanterns are often round in shape and white in color to symbolize the serenity of the occasion. Also the addition of lanterns to a wedding ceremony adds a romantic mood to the festivities and are perfect for Asian themed nuptial celebrations.
Square Paper Lanterns
Another of the more traditional shapes of paper lanterns, the square lantern
can often be seen during the celebration of the Obon festival in Japan. Their stable structure make them ideal for decorations in the garden to provide ambient lighting. They also make attractive room decorations.
Cylindrical or Cylinder Paper Lanterns
Often found in Chinese and Japanese temples, the larger ones are often found hanging in the front entrance into the shrine. They are also used as advertisements for shops, often having the character symbolizing the wares that are sold written on them. These types of paper lanterns are also the originator of the term "red light district" as in old times red cylindrical paper lanterns decorated the brothels in Japan.
Rectangular Paper Lanterns
Along with cylindrical paper lanterns, rectangular paper lanterns are often used as a shop sign of sorts to point customers to the direction of their businesses. Smaller versions of these paper lanterns are often used as night lights and are quite popular as interior ambient lighting of Asian themed restaurants.
Non-traditional shapes are also very popular, The following are the 4 popular types of non-traditional shaped lanterns available in the market today.
Coming in shapes like the traditional five pointed star to the multi pointed variety, star shaped lanterns make attractive Christmas decorations. Sometimes lit up by multiple Christmas lights, these star shaped lanterns provide an extremely festive atmosphere to the garden or home.
Zigzag Paper Lanterns
One of the more playful designs available, the zigzag lantern combines the traditional appeal of the paper lantern with the modern aesthetics of its unusual shape. Zigzag paper lanterns evoke a cheery atmosphere and gives a sense of fun to whatever occasion it is used for. Zigzag lanterns used as decorations are sure to spruce up any party.
Wave Paper Lantern
Like the zigzag lantern, the wave shaped paper lanterns have a modern appeal. Though unlike the zigzag lantern, the wave shape evokes a sense of calm which coupled with the diffused lighting that paper lanterns provide, further enhances the restful mood. Ideal for indoor rest areas the wave shaped lantern make for perfect meditation lighting.
Mushroom Shaped Lanterns
One of the more unique shapes available, the mushroom shaped paper lanterns provides that unusual twist that can liven up the room. Ideal for those celebrations where a whimsical touch is needed, these lanterns are sure to become quite the conversation starter.
The most classic of these lanterns are the round type which, as the name suggests, are spherical in shape and come in sizes from one to two feet as most traditional Chinese paper lanterns seen in festivals, to the so called "baby's bottom" which are string lights
composed of many small paper lanterns strung together very much like Christmas tree lights.
Cylindrical and rectangular shaped lanterns are common in gardens and homes that serve both as light sources and as decorations. In Japan, rectangular and capsule shaped paper lanterns are used outside storefronts to advertise their businesses.
Candle Lanterns and Battery Lanterns
Traditional lanterns held open flames inside, with oil in stone or clay containers and lighted with a wick. As candles became easily accessible, paper lanterns surged in popularity as candles were easier to manage and the lanterns keeping the flames from being put out by unexpected drafts.
Modern candle lanterns
are now constructed from metal or with a metal frame surrounded by glass to prevent it from burning by accident. Most paper lanterns now have lights operated by batteries thus we get the name, battery lanterns. With either LED or traditional electric lights, battery lanterns are more portable and are thus highly favoured for decoration and celebrations of Asian themed parties.
Other Lantern Types
Silk lanterns, nylon lanterns other cloth lanterns are also quite popular as decorative items. Usually less fragile than their paper counterparts, lanterns made of cloth are nonetheless as beautiful. Lanterns made of metal on the other hand are mostly used for outdoor decorations such as patios or gardens as they more resistant to outside elements. Candle lanterns are also mostly made out of metal or have metal frames.
1. Chinese Paper Lantern, (n.d.) Retrieved March 16, 2011 from Kwintessential http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/article/China/Chinese-Paper-Lantern/1939