A Chinese Handling box for Temple Newsam House, Leeds

Flower Girl dress, Purple Dragon lantern, Yellow dragon lantern, Dragon Puppet

Flower Girl Dress

Description: Traditional child’s dress with dragon and phoenix motifs and fabric fastenings.

Use: Worn on special occasions such as weddings

Why this object is included in the handling box: It is an example of a traditional dress that links with Dragon and Phoenix box and Phoenix embroidery


Purple and Yellow Dragon Lanterns

Description: Paper lantern with dragon motif and tasselled fringe

Use: Decoration, particularly at New Year and during the Chinese Lantern Festival

Background: On the 15th day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar, colourful lanterns are hung to celebrate the first full moon of the new year. Friends and families gather to see all the beautiful brightly lit lanterns and eat special rice dumplings filled with sweet ingredients such as sugar or rose petals or savoury ingredients such as meat and vegetables.

Suggested activities:

Make your own decorated lanterns


Dragon Puppet

Description: Paper and card dragon puppet with pearl in mouth – model of dragon dance puppet.

Use: Toy popular at New Year

Background: The dragon is a popular creature in Chinese culture. Chinese New Year, otherwise known as the Spring Festival, takes place according to the lunar calendar and is usually in January or February. It is the biggest festival of the year and a time for families to be reunited and to honour their ancestors. All the family gathers for a meal on New Year’s Eve, on a table spread with new tablecloths and using new chopsticks and dishes. Calligraphy pictures symbolising good luck and long life are hung around the house and fireworks and firecrackers are set off. On New Year’s Day everyone dresses in new clothes and visits relatives and friends, taking gifts such as fruit or flowers and money for the children, and being offered tea and sweetmeats to eat. The festivities last for fifteen days and include dragon and lion dances



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