Beginning January 10, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens will celebrate the 2010 Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger, with a unique display filled with hidden meaning. The Conservatory’s design will be guided by the ancient practice of Feng Shui — the art of using surroundings to attract harmony, balance and positive life energy.
The dramatic centerpiece of this exhibit will be a majestic tiger. His ‘fur’ coat will be comprised of dried botanicals. The tiger will stand among a garden of Taihu rocks and overlook a tranquil pond of Koi, a symbol of abundance and fortune. Rocks and water are viewed as essential features of any traditional Chinese garden and symbolize the larger world around us. After spending decades forming underwater, Taihu stones were chosen because they are believed to encourage circulation of ch’i, or natural energy.
Legend has it that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came. The third animal in the Asian zodiac, the tiger serves as a symbol of luck and bravery. Those born in the Year of the Tiger tend to be natural leaders, competitive and self-reliant.
Just steps away from Bellagio’s courageous feline ambassador, an 18-foot-tall Chinese God of Prosperity will be found amidst gold leafed I-Ching coins, a traditional Chinese money symbol. Widely recognized as the strongest symbol of good fortune and great luck in the New Year, the God of Prosperity will be flanked by two Ming Dynasty-styled dings, ancestral vessels that protect against bad fortunes.
Nearby, a trio of charming, 6-foot-tall giant pandas, made of more than 9,000 living plants, will frolic in a lush garden filled with towering bamboo. Considered a national treasure in China and listed as an endangered species, pandas spend at least 12 hours each day eating up to 84 pounds of bamboo.
Within Bellagio’s Conservatory, visitors also will find a zigzag bridge leading to a beautiful, wing-tipped Ming Dynasty-styled gazebo painted a deep red lacquer with shimmering gold trim and green-tiled roofs. The color red signifies happiness while the upturned roofline will ward off evil spirits. The sharp pattern of the bridge will protect against negative energy and bad spirits. A majestic mountain, seen as a pillar between heaven and earth, will serve as a dramatic backdrop.
The teachings of Feng Shui also will be used to purposely position the flow of water into Bellagio’s Conservatory, and not away, ensuring the flow of positive energy. Oversized brilliant-red, silk Chinese lanterns throughout the conservatory will add to the auspicious nature of this spectacular exhibit.
Visitors are invited to celebrate Chinese New Year in Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens January 10 through February 28.
Chinese New Year Facts:
- The Year of the Tiger is February 14, 2010 – February 3, 2011
- People born in the Year of the Tiger tend to be competitive and love to stand-out
Chinese New Year Conservatory Facts:
- Three 6-foot-tall giant pandas comprised of Helichrysum Icicles and Hemigraphis Erect
- 18-foot-tall God of Prosperity
- I-Ching coins are traditional money symbol
- Zigzag bridges, water and the color red protect against evil and ensure positive energy