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Feel the romance of lanterns
Latest Updated by 2006-07-27 09:52:32
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Qiandeng (meaning "thousands of lamps and lanterns") County, an ancient town located in Kunshan, Suzhou, opened China's first lantern museum on July 21. Some 1,133 lanterns made in China and abroad tell visitors their stories, and demonstrate Qiandeng County's profound culture.

When visiting the town, tourists can feel its unique landscape and customs. They usually cruise on the river, enjoying marvelous scenery. It's also the hometown of Gu Yanwu, a patriotic thinker of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and the cradle of the Kunqu Opera, one of the world's oral and intangible heritages.

The town once had several beacon towers, which are looked upon as the earliest lanterns by locals. At the request of the local government, the Nanjing government named the town "Qiandeng County" in April 1966. But local people still wished to build a lantern museum, to display its centuries-old lantern culture.

Yin Xiaolin, a lantern collector in Beijing, was a main founder of the museum. He has collected more than 1,000 old lanterns in 20 years. Yin even built a cottage for his precious lanterns. However, believing a museum should be a permanent home of his collections, he started to contact officials from Qiandeng County through the Internet, and won their support. Lanterns in Yin's cottage were then sent to the museum in early 2006.

At present, tourists from home and abroad are fascinated by the lantern museum, which preserves a huge array of lamps and lanterns ranging from the Neolithic period to the 1940s, the earliest are being made of stones 7,000 years ago.

Editor: Wing

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