July 12, 2009

The Terracotta Warriors

I arrived in Xi'an on the same day that the excavations at the final resting place of the Terracotta Army restarted after a gap of over 20 years. After getting off the train and finding a hostel, my fellow travelers and I caught a bus to the necropolis. We saw thousands of life sized figures as soon as we arrived, but they turned out to be tourists.

A long walk awaited us before we finally reached the three pits containing the Terracotta Warriors. After entering a large warehouse, we came face to face with rows and rows of terracotta soldiers and horses. Discovered by peasants digging a well in 1974, the figures were constructed two centuries before the birth of Christ. The Terracotta Army protects China's first emperor in his journey through the afterlife. The statues have different expressions on their faces as craftsmen sculpted each uniquely. Many have lost body parts or weapons. Some of the horse figurines have lost their tail, leaving an embarrassing hole in their posterior.


"It's worth much more than you pay for it." - Slogan on poster seen within the Terracotta Army tomb complex