Paper lantern

A lantern ( Pl: lanterns ) is a first Chinese-made paper lantern for receiving an artificial light source.


Inventor of the first lanterns was the Chinese politician and strategist Zhuge Liang (Chinese诸葛亮/诸葛亮, IPA (high Chinese) d̥ʐ̥u5 ɡ̊ɤ214 li̯ɑŋ51, * 181, † 234), Call Name Kungming (Chinese孔明Kǒngmíng ), at the time of the Three Kingdoms in China. On one of his military operations he was in an awkward position. He was surrounded and enclosed by enemies, and saw no way to tell his allies its exact location until he came up with the idea to build bamboo rods and thin paper lanterns.

The static lift is generated its own fire source. This heats the air inside the lantern, thus its total weight is less than the weight of the displaced air. In this first lantern the fire source consisted in kerosene -soaked cloth, which was set on fire. The air warmed up, and stretched himself, so that they were able to travel to rise and long distances. As the material was burned, it decreased back to the ground. Zhuge Liang wrote his exact location on the lanterns and hoped that they reached their goal. He took the millennia -known oracle book I Ching to help to determine the moment a favorable wind direction for him to start the lanterns. The lanterns made ​​it, and he was saved. Since then, he is considered a hero in China and went with his nickname " Kongming " ( the open and bright lanterns ) into the story. Even today, the hot air balloon is operated on this principle.

In the old tradition in China, paper lanterns are used at the house apart from the decorative function and the transmission of messages. Inform about birth, death, social position and impending dangers. In ancient China reflects the location and size of the lanterns of the social position. Red lanterns describe cheerful events, blue describes decreasing energy and white means death. So hang a lantern in front of a white house, it is likely that someone has died. A blue lantern could talk about illness and a red possibly from a wedding or birth. During the Cultural Revolution in the years 1966-1976 lanterns were banned.

Previously, there was in Europe a significant production of lanterns. The manufacturers and distributors are called apportion, the fabrication is called Lampisterie.


The first lantern was made ​​of bamboo poles and thin paper. Above them were closed and open at the bottom. On a small construction soaked in petroleum piece of cloth was attached, which was set on fire. Today, they usually consist of a frame made ​​of thin metal, and are clothed with paper. The lighting consists of a candle or an electrical source. A new possibility is a robust variant of weather resistant material ( PVC) which can be used outside all year. Nowadays there are a wide variety of bulbs for the lantern.


The subdued light and the most imaginative shapes make up the charm of Chinese lanterns. Chinese lanterns are often used in celebrations outside the home. On dark summer evenings and during the dark winter months they are in connection with parades, where mainly children participate (eg Martin singing on St. Martin ), worn as a mood -generating filament through the area. For this purpose, the term " lantern" is used. The weather- proof version can, however, throughout the year remain in the garden, where it serves as a garden or decorative lighting. Even today you can rise in China in the night of the Moon Festival Kong Ming lanterns with good wishes in the sky.

In addition, paper lanterns are often used as a light source for movies, since you completely diffuse light is perceived by the viewer as a basic brightness and position of the light source can not be perceived.