Published: December 31st 2008December 27th 2008
This guy was one of the few that were mostly intact. He had a real weapon that disintegrated over time.
I flew to Xi’an from Qingdao and arrived at my hotel in late evening. All the city lights were on and once we got into the city, I looked around in wonder at the sights of the buildings. What a wonderful looking place. I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to get started. I immediately booked a tour to see the Terracotta Warriors
for the next day. I’ll tell more about Xi’an later, but this blog entry is mostly about the trip to see the main attraction of Xi’an.
In 1974, a farmer figured out that the clay pieces that he and his neighbors were digging up in the ground were not just pieces of an old Buddha statue to be worshiped or trash to be cast aside. He said they looked like images of ancient soldiers’ uniforms and reported it to the authorities. They started digging and found a whole army of a several thousand life size warriors made out of clay dating back 2000 years. There were no records of this, but the story is that in those days, when an emperor died, all of his concubines and warriors were to be buried with him to
The pits containing the warriors are now covered in a building to protect them.
guard his tomb. This emperor thought that his army was very good and he wanted to keep them alive for his inheriting sons. While the thousands of concubines weren’t so lucky, he had an army made of clay to replace the real ones to go with him into the next life. The concubines were buried alive with him in his tomb.
These warriors are special because they are life size and all of them are unique. Faces, expressions and other features all look different just as the humans would have looked in real life. They were originally meticulously painted, but when they opened the pits with the figures in them, the color faded immediately.
So, off I go on this tour… First we arrived at the pottery factory where they make replicas of the Terracotta warriors to sell. I thought it was interesting that the factory made original Chinese pottery until the site was found and then went into full tourist mode making mostly warrior figurines. …But… there were some nice ones, so I bought a couple.
Finally, we got to the site of the warriors. I was amazed by the sheer size of the place. I don’t know
what I expected, but this was much larger than I thought. It just kept going and going. It sat for 2000 years while farmers farmed over it never knowing what was beneath them. I think it’s amazing that this whole army was solely made to be buried, never to be seen by anyone.
After much picture taking and looking in amazement, we moved on to a poorly heated tourist hotel for lunch. The food was good, but it irked me that the tour guide told us the meal was not included in our tour only after we ate lunch.
Then off to a silk factory to see how silk is produced. I now am positive that the fowl smelling cooked bugs I see steaming on the food carts on the streets of Seoul are silk worms, but I’ve digressed a bit. Xi’an was the beginning of the Silk Road in days of old, but the area still produces a large amount of silk. On our tour, we were of course shown the show room in order to spend all of our money, which we spent none.
Other than the obvious tourist trappings of the tour, this was a
fascinating trip and I was glad I got a chance to see the Terracotta Warriors. I was satisfied that I had gotten a chance to see them.
There are more photos below