OR THE RELIEF TO ARRIVE IN XI’AN.
I’m saving a rant for my next blog. This is purely for the wonder that is this amazing archaeological find. A farmer digging for a well came across this astounding endeavour and vanity of old in the 70’s. The photos don’t do it justice. Although it will be many years before we know the full extent of the after world that the Emperor had his minions create for him even what is exposed thus far is mind boggling.
THE TERRACOTTA ARMY.
Although the main bodies had been mass produced, each face is totally unique. They have uncovered about 2,000 but the estimated total will be around 8,000. Qin Shi Huang thought big. His 130 chariots with 520 horses in addition to 150 cavalry horses, along with archers, strongmen, acrobats, musicians and officials are the other people in his afterlife entourage.
The necropolis, after ground penetrating radar and core samples, has found the actual size is approximately 38 square miles. The tomb mound itself is at the foot of Mount Li and has never been entered but was described later to have mercury rivers and a sky like ceiling with pearl stars. Due to the fact that the paint was seen to peel off as soon as exposed to the dry air ( it can curl in 15 seconds and flake off within 4 minutes), it has been decided not to enter this precious relic until archaeological techniques have been improved.
Slideshow of the few cursory signs at Pit 1
The Conservation and Restoration Area.
This is in Pit 1. It was not manned at the time I was there as it was Chinese New Year but you can see the intricate joining together of some of the soldiers that were broken in many pieces. The usage of cling film to hold the parts that have been cemented together make for an eerie experience. I’m so glad I decided to go there even though I had a terrible time in Beijing. The enormity of this project beggars belief.
The Museums on site.
In the new museums (there’s even an ancient Egyptian one!) you can see some more complete warriors. The remnant of lacquer is a revelation. Much like the ancient Greeks and Egyptians they did like a bit of gaudy paint. We only recognise statues unpainted so it’s always a bit of a shock to see them how they were intended.
Although after the discovery in 1974 a lot of the metal, such as the archers bows and horses stirrups, was plundered, they still have enough to show how detailed everything was.
I was going to what was supposed to be a criminals tomb but the sheer size of the site is a little daunting and I had a taxi waiting….. I will add more in my next post but this gives you an idea of the wonder of this magical site which is in its infancy of exploration.
Now in the time of this terrible Chinese virus, one wonders when tourists will again have access. I’m so glad I persevered in going there, for it is indeed a magnificent sight to see. I’m also glad I travelled so much in the last few years……………………………