(Chinese lanterns have drawn visitors to Edinburgh Zoo. (Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo)

A remarkable display of 450 traditional Chinese lanterns in Edinburgh Zoo is throwing new light on ancient tales from Scotland and China.

The Scottish capital is home to a pair of Chinese Pandas, Tian Tian and her mate Yang Guang. The light show features much of the cultural heritage from the Pandas' homeland in southwest China's Sichuan Province.


Chinese lanterns wow a boy in Edinburgh Zoo. (Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo)

That theme continued with inspiration from the ancient traditions of Scottish storytelling and the country's mysterious creatures of folklore.

Richard Bestic, CGTN correspondent in the UK, said the show is a triumph of old and new.

The lanterns are the work of more than 200 Chinese artisans, employing traditional skills dating back thousands of years.


A Chinese lantern in Edinburgh Zoo. /Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo

It took them more than 100 days, meshing together some 50,000 meters of fabric, along with 80,000 LED lights and then shipping the finished lanterns over to Scotland.

Barbara Smith, Edinburgh Zoo's chief executive said she's thrilled with the lantterns.

"Over 50 nights, Edinburgh Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland of myths and legends brought to life by these colossal Chinese lanterns," she said. "Visitors will come face to face with herds of unicorns, kelpies, a sleeping dragon and Nessie the Loch Ness Monster."


The Chinese lanterns in Edinburgh Zoo. /Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo

"Each installation tells a story from Scottish legends and Chinese mythology as well as the crucial conservation projects we undertake with our partners to help preserve the world's most vulnerable species."

As for Edinburgh Zoo's famous pandas, the breeding programme for the pair was suspended in March for at least a year after Iain Valentine, the man in charge, quit his job.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011 on a 10-year loan, as part of a trade deal worth 2.6 pounds sterling.

Tian Tian had twins in China in 2009, but Edinburgh Zoo tried natural mating only once at Edinburgh zoo, in 2012.


Tian Tian in Edinburgh Zoo. /Photo courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo

It subsequently used artificial insemination with Yang Guang's semen and defrosted semen from a panda that had successfully bred at Berlin zoo.

One source said Valentine had complained that military jets taking part in Edinburgh's military tattoo would fly over the zoo during August, at a crucial moment in the panda's pregnancy, just as she was close to birth.

Valentine also felt there may have been links between Tian Tian's failure to give birth and seasonal changes in Edinburgh's daylight levels. Because the city is further north than their natural home in China, the longer days in summer and longer nights in winter may have upset her hormones.