Day By Day

Monday, June 15, 2009

China Diary -- Part 12 The Terracotta Army

After lunch we headed out again, this time to see the real terracotta army at the mausoleum of Qín Shǐhuáng Líng, the "First Emperor of China. It is estimated that there are more than 8000 warriors represented, along with chariots, horses and various officials. It is one of the great world heritage sites, and justifiably so. Only a few of the pits have been exposed. Most of the army is still buried, as is the central tomb, but excavations have resumed just this week. The archaeologists, using clues based on the positioning of the figures so far excavated, are hoping to find a representation of the emperor himself, or perhaps his generals.

Seen up close you notice that each figure is distinctive. That means that each one was crafted individually. Today most of the lacquer finish has worn away, so they look more uniform than they originally must have. It's quite a feat! Just think of the manpower involved.

Horses were not so individualized.

Here's a pit showing the condition of the figures when they were first excavated. As you can see, a lot of restoration has been effected.

Here's one of the fully restored figures.

How about this chariot and team? The display case could use some cleaning, but the exhibit on display is stupendous.

Impressive! Really, really impressive!