• Taiwan Pavilion: Chinese wisdom behind lantern
  • CRI 2010-05-07 19:16 anonymous
  • (Low Carbon Network News)The Taiwan Pavilion, a modern structure in the shape of a traditional Chinese lantern, is among the most photographed pavilions at the World Expo in Shanghai.

    The central piece and heart of the building is a globe made of millions of LED lights, which rotates in a giant glass cube. A stage is set under the globe for visitors to fly digital sky lanterns which will be shown on the globe as they slowly float up until they vanish.

    Flying lanterns to wish for good luck are an old Chinese ritual well-preserved in Taiwan, said Walter Yeh, Curator of the Taiwan Pavilion, in an exclusive interview with CRI.

    "Many such cultural heritages are protected in Taiwan like the Chinese tea ceremony which originated from the mainland, and also the temples," Yeh said. "Some of them are hundreds years old and in good shape, including the Buddha statues in them."

    The traditional practice of lantern flying is realized through modern technology at the Taiwan Pavilion. On a computer screen, visitors create a virtual lantern and choose what to write on them before releasing them with a click on the screen.

    Wang Haijun, a visitor to the pavilion, said she wrote "Love and Peace" as a wish on her lantern.

    "I hope love fills our life and work as a motivation, and we can be at peace with each other," Wang said. Harmony is what our society needs."

    Wang said she is planning a trip to Taiwan to see the sensational landscape of the island portrayed in the film shown in the pavilion's spherical cinema.

    With a midair bridge to hold visitors, the cinema has a 720 degree spherical screen, showing tourist sites and cultural festivities in Taiwan.

    Alexander Piroth, a German who has lived in Taiwan for three years, said the spherical cinema is his favorite part of the pavilion, and that the displays there are an honest presentation of the real Taiwan.

    "I think it is quite good," Piroth said. "It gives a look at, a glance at the culture and the places we can go like Yu Shan, Kaohsiung and Taipei. Quite good."

    But tourism promotion is only one of the Taiwan Pavilion's missions.

    "The role of the Taiwan Pavilion at the Expo is to help those who haven't been to Taiwan to know the place in many aspects from sightseeing to the lifestyles of the Taiwan people," Yeh said.