Acclaimed international art exhibition ‘Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors’ is heading to Manchester.

Secured by Manchester’s business improvement district, the Heart of Manchester BID, the stunning installation comprising 40 lantern warriors will illuminate the city’s Exchange Square as part of Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations in January 2017.

Commissioned for the Beijing Olympics Games in 2008, the acclaimed exhibition has subsequently appeared in iconic locations across the globe including Dawes Point, Sydney Harbour (in front of Sydney Opera House), Zagreb Central Square and Prague’s Hradcany Castle. Manchester will be its next stop and the first time it has ever been on display in the North West.

Inspired by the the famous ‘terracotta army’ accidently uncovered in 1974 in the tomb of China’s First Emperor and widely regarded as the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World, artist Xia Nan’s brightly coloured lanterns, which stand at more than two metres tall, bring together two key features of Chinese art and culture – the compelling story of the Terracotta Army alongside the 2000 year old tradition of lantern-making. ‘The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors’ are accurate replicas of the original 8,000-strong army of clay warriors, with the addition of women and children to represent inheritance and future.

js95830317Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations, organised by the Heart of Manchester BID on behalf of Manchester city centre retailers, alongside FCAM (Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester), Manchester City Council and Confucius Institute, are the largest in the UK outside of London. In 2016, event sponsors included Hainan Airlines, Manchester Airport Group, Manchester City Football Club and Tsingtao. Chinese New Year celebrations in 2017 are set to be the biggest the city has seen to date offering brands the opportunity to align with both a world class exhibition and high profile, internationally recognised celebrations.

Manchester city centre will see in the Year of the Rooster with a four day programme (26th – 29th January 2017) celebrating the very best of traditional and contemporary Chinese culture. More than 6,000 traditional red lanterns will adorn the city’s streets alongside a giant 50ft Golden Dragon spectacle, stunning light shows and firework displays, Chinese and Asian food villages, live music and traditional performances and a host of city wide family events.

js95830315Jane Sharrocks, Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District Chair, said: “Securing this world class exhibition is a major coup for both Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations and the city itself. The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors are breathtaking and visitors can walk amongst them offering a truly immersive experience.

“Each year our celebrations get bigger and our events programme bolder, making Manchester one of the best places in Europe to spend Chinese New Year. And as Manchester’s partnership with China grows and takes to the global stage, it’s only fitting that the BID, alongside FCAM, Manchester City Council and the city’s retailers deliver the most innovative and spectacular Chinese New Year festival to date.”