Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lantern Warriors Installation – January – February 2014

Visitors have flocked to see the larger-than-life lanterns inspired by the ancient Chinese Terracotta warriors which added a burst of colour to the Old College Quad on South Bridge this Chinese New Year from 29 Jan to 7 February 2014.

Please click here to see a video and find out more.

Each day the 90 lantern figures up to 2.5m tall were illuminated from 4pm-9pm.

The spectacle was created by Chinese artist Xia Nan for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Thanks to a partnership between the Confucius Institute for Scotland, the Festivals Office in the University of Edinburgh and various other departments within the University this exhibition has been brought to Scotland for the first time.

Inspired by terracotta army

The lanterns are inspired by the army of terracotta soldiers, discovered in 1974 when the tomb of the 3rd Century BC First Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang was unearthed in the Xian province of China.

The figures were found in an underground vault of 12,000 square meters and comprised more than 8,000 terracotta sculptures depicting warriors and horses arranged in battle formation.

It is thought that they were created to defend the emperors immortal soul.

Traditional technique

Xia Nan has used traditional Chinese lantern designs to re-imagine this awe-inspiring historic discovery.

The figures that will populate Old College quadrangle includes women and children as well as men with horses.

`We are delighted to be showcasing this incredible exhibition to coincide with Chinese New Year. People of all ages are sure to be wowed by the scale and beauty of the lanterns, while also learning about this important aspect of Chinese history.`

Professor Natascha Gentz
Director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh in association with the Confucius Institute for Scotland is delighted to present this exhibition in partnership with Event International, and with thanks to Chaoyang Cultural Centre, Beijing.

Handa Chair Lecture – January 2014

Join us on Tues 28 January for the inaugural lecture by the Handa Chair in Japanese-Chinese relations, Prof Urs Matthias Zachmann.

His lecture, which is open to the public, will take place in Old College Lecture Theatre 183 starting at 5.30pm. It will be followed by a reception.


The history of Japanese-Chinese relations since the mid-nineteenth century can be interpreted as a series of negotiations and contestations what Asia really stands for and how the concept relates to the western world. Especially from the Japanese perspective, the concept of Asia was highly unstable and oscillated between connotations of the particular and the universal, the backward and the visionary, the model and the dismal. Although these fluctuations were politically motivated and followed the progress of Japanese-Chinese relations, they also had an intrinsic logic of their own and reveal underlying constants that can be felt even today. This lecture is an inquiry into the political changes and cultural constants of the concept of Asia in the history of Japanese-Chinese relations and their implications for East Asia and the study of its relations today.


Urs Matthias Zachmann received his MA (2000) and PhD (2006) in Japanese Studies from the University of Heidelberg. In 2010, he completed his Habilitation in Japanese Studies at the University of Munich. For his theses, he conducted extensive research at Waseda University, Harvard University, the University of Tokyo and Seikei University. He is also qualified as an advocate in Germany (first and second legal state exam, 1998 and 2002).

In 2006, Zachmann became Assistant Professor at the Japan Center of Munich University, followed by an appointment in October 2010 as Acting Full Professor at the Institute of Japanese Studies of Heidelberg University. He assumed his position as Handa Chair in Japanese-Chinese Relations in October 2011.