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500-Year-Old Indelible Memory - Li Shang Ren Lanterns 2020-03-24
Over the long course of history, there are always some things, some foods that have amazed the world and passed down the essence of history and old traditions. It may be the awe-inspiring craftsmanship, or the mouth-watering local cuisine. They are the precious wealth left to Chun’an County by history and also the memories cherished deeply by the Chun'an people. Although these intangible cultural heritages may have been on the verge of being lost, with the increase of protection strength and the improvement of the inheritance system, they have gradually returned to people's daily life and once again showed their charming luster. If you come to Chun'an, then you must go to see, visit, and taste these Chun'an intangible cultural heritages that have been soaked in history.
 
Today I will introduce to you the Li Shang Ren Lanterns

 
Li Shang Ren Lanterns
里商仁灯

Li Shang Ren Lanterns have been passed down for more than 500 years. On the evening of the 15th day of the first lunar month, people will shoulder the lanterns and come to the square of the Shang Clan Ancestral Hall. These lanterns are connected together and become a spectacular lantern dragon, which is called Ren Lanterns. Ren Lanterns originated from Shang Lu, the Prime Minister of the Ming Dynasty who had won the first places in the provincial examination, imperial examination and the final imperial examination (presided over by the emperor), which is the highest honor that ancient scholars had ever dreamed of. According to legend, during the 70th birthday of Shang Lu, Xianzong of the Ming Dynasty sent him a hundred lanterns to celebrate and Shang Lu’s old mother loved watching the Ren Lanterns in the capital. Out of filial piety, Shang Lu asked the emperor for permission to perform dragon lantern dance on the Lantern Festival in his hometown, which pleased her mother. This is the origin of the Ren Lantern Dragon Dance.

 
The villagers admired both Shang Lu's talents and virtues, but also signed with emotion that he had studied hard to change his life, so they passed down the workmanship of making Li Shang Ren Lanterns and the custom of performing Ren Lantern Dragon Dance from generation to generation to show respect for Shang Lu.
 
In the production of Li Shang Ren Lanterns, a bamboo skeleton must be selected first, and then the pattern of the lantern surface should be punctured with embroidery needles, the denser the puncture, the better the light transmission. The patterns on the lamp include Plum Blossoms, Orchid, Chrysanthemum and Bamboo, Magpies Competing for Plum Blossoms in Winter Days, Lotus Blossoms Setting Off the Sun, Exquisite Ancient Pagodas, Phoenix and Peony, Two Dragons Frolicking a Pearl, etc. Every Li Shang Ren Lantern has twelve sides and each side features a different pattern.
 
Shang Zhenzhou is the 28th-generation descendant of Shang Lu, and the representative inheritor of the provincial intangible cultural heritage "Li Shang Ren Lantern”. "There must be couplets on the lantern. We are the descendants of a prime minister and should take learning seriously. You see, this pair of couplets praises Shang Lu; this pair is about moralities and etiquette; this is about the beautiful scenery of Chun'an ...” Red- and green-colored papers are especially warm under the orange candle flame and the holes of the needles are all turned into bright stars. "Magpie", "Peony" and "Phoenix" all reveal their aura.

Where to go:
Li Shang Ren Lantern Museum, 1st floor of New Culture Building, Liyang Old Street, Liyang Village, Lishang Town, Chun'an County 淳安县里商乡里阳村里阳老街新文化楼一楼里商仁灯馆
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