Friday, July 17, 2009

Xi'an Day 2, Terra-Cotta Warriors

We began our second day in Xi'an with a trip to the Terra-Cotta Warriors. I'd been anxious to see this since I first heard about it years ago. And it did not disappoint.
This is the entrance to pit number 1. There are currently 3 pits, all still being excavated, with a total of 7,000 clay soldiers and thousands more not yet unearthed. The Terra-Cotta Warriors were first discovered in March of 1974 by local farmers drilling a series of wells in search of water. A cool surprise we had during our visit was that the farmer who first discovered the army was in the museum signing books. He does not allow his picture to be taken, but we did buy a book with his autograph.

This is a picture of "the hospital," where they assemble the unearthed soldiers, piece by piece. They do not add manufactured parts to complete a soldier. If a part is never found, that's the way the soldiers stay. That's why in some pictures you'll see some with missing heads, hands, etc.

The Terra-Cotta Warriors are from the Qin Dynasty, and the pits were in later years set on fire and collapsed.

Originally the soldiers were holding weapons, such as archery tools. If I remember correctly, the weapons were looted thousands of years ago.

As I said, the pits are still being excavated, and there were workers there during our visit.

This tour was one of the highlights of the trip for me. How many times in your life will you have the opportunity to visit two wonders of the world in a period of a couple days? Even though it was very hot this day, I think we all enjoyed seeing the clay soldiers and learning about how they were built (it took 37 years!) and how they were discovered in 1974. Interestingly enough, the farmer was not compensated for his discovery in any way, even though he lost his farm land.
If you ever get to China, go see the Terra-Cotta Warriors. Truly amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment