Monday, April 7, 2014

Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an

Over the weekend we took a trip to Xi'an with Margot's parents. The highlight of the trip is, of course, the Terracotta Warriors.

These warriors were made to accompany Qin Shihuang into the afterlife. Qin Shihuang was the first emperor to unite all of China in 221 BC.

The figures are all life sized.

It is difficult to get a sense of the size of this undertaking. There were over 8000 soldiers and 500 horses.

Perhaps this series of pictures will help put it in perspective.

Click any picture to enlarge.

This is Pit 1. It is the largest.

Here is a snapshot of Ed and Nancy in front of the pit.

Here are Margot and me.

They are still reassembling the warriors. This is a section of the work area.

The figures were originally brightly colored. However, much of the color stuck to the earth when they were excavated. In some cases exposure to air caused the colors to fade.

The site was discovered in 1974 by some farmers digging a well during a drought. Some of the farmers were afraid to report the find to authorities as this was during the Cultural Revolution and ancient culture and those who valued it were often labeled "counter-revolutionaries".

The pits were underground with rammed earth walls separating the ranks of warriors. The trenches were covered with timbers and reed mats with earth piled on top.

The army in Pit 1 was looted after the end of the Qin dynasty. All the weapons were taken and the pits were set on fire. This caused the roof to collapse and crush all the figures.

This is pit 2 and was not looted.

All the figures on display were reassembled from fragments like these.

This is a picture of a picture showing some of the original coloring.

All of the faces are said to be different. The heads were manufactured separately from the bodies. This is a kneeling archer in a display case in the museum.

The figures are very detailed down to the soles of the shoes. The figures are marked with the name of the workman for quality control purposes.

The tail was made separately.

Originally this cavalry soldier carried a crossbow.

This is a standing archer.

Learn more here. ---> Terracotta Army

For 10 RMB you can stand with some replicas and have your friend (or stranger) take your picture. We chose not to stand in line.

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