Day By Day

Thursday, June 18, 2009

China Diary -- Part 17 The Han Yang Ling Tomb

In the morning we headed out to the Han Ying Ling Mausoleum, tomb of Liu Qi, fourth emperor of the Western Han dynasty. It's an impressive place. The entrance takes you underground to the level of the excavations under the burial mound. It's a dark and, well..., creepy experience. Soon you are in a dark place looking down on this.

Let's look a little closer.

How about this -- thousands of little naked dolls with genitalia and without arms?

There's a simple answer. The figurines were created as a small-scale version of the terracotta warriors. Originally they had movable wooden arms and were clothed, but over time the arms and cloth rotted away leaving only the ceramic figures.

Here's a reconstruction of how the figures might have originally looked.

There was much more to see at the tombs, but we were on a short schedule. We had to get to the airport because our next stop was hundreds of miles away.