Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Xi'an, part 2 (Terracotta Warriors)

Here are the pics you have been waiting for, the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors. This was truly spectactular, and worth the 19-hour train trip.

I took a city bus to get from the city to the museum, and it dropped us off on a rural road, about five minutes' walk away from the museum entrance. The corn harvest was in full swing and there were ears of corn spread out everywhere to dry - roofs, hanging, sidewalk. Thankfully, the ones on the sidewalk were set on tarps.
I would have enjoyed sitting with these women husking corn. They were still at it when I came back after the museum.
After the ticket gate, there is a five-minute walk through this little park to get to the museum proper.
Persimmons were ripe and beautiful.
Persimmon trees are NOT this big back home!
The actual site is several buildings enclosing the actual pits where the warriors are being dug up, along with a museum and a couple other buildings, arranged around a central square.

I decided to see the Exhibit Hall first, which was a good choice as it was an excellent museum.
My first view of a real terracotta warrior. It was much more beautiful than I could show in the photo, particularly the facial expression. This one is particularly elegant because unlike most, he still has traces of colored paint.

And nearby were some more reconstructed warriors. The first photo shows them in the lighting the museum used, which shows their beauty.
In the next two shots I used the flash, and you can clearly see the damage and how they have been restored.

A stone die. I guess they played Dungeons and Dragons to pass the time...
(stage whisper) The Emperor himself.
These touch terminals contained fantastic slideshows all about the tomb.
These giant marionettes were made for (if I remember right) the Beijing Olympics.
Some horsies.
After the museum, I went to Pit 2 in this building, which is a massive section that is just in the beginning stages of excavation.
First view: this place is HUGE and more or less square. You can see the tiny people on the far side. The lumpy rows are where they will excavate the terracotta warriors, as they were placed in columns.
Here is a video to show the size of the pit.

Here is a section in progress. They have removed the pieces from the left row for sorting, while in the right row you can see the warriors as they "fell" (were found).
This was so awesome. I was told that this room was "boring" but I found it truly amazing.
Here is a video showing a reconstructed warrior and horse.
Pit 3 was something to do with "stables" and so there were some nice horses; this pit was very small.
And the main attraction, Pit 1. The entrance is at the front where all the people are crowded in.
This photo is blurry, but it shows the pieces of each warrior being put together in blue sorting bins. There were a whole row of these bins down the middle of the dig.
I'm standing about in the middle of the building. Like the first pit, this one is also HUGE.
In the far corner was the restoration area, which looked eerily like a morgue.
View from the back of the room; you can see the number tags on the warriors and that these warriors still have holes and cracks in them while undergoing the restoration process.
This one must have been sleepy...
A "live" section of the dig. You can see the blue sorting bins along the ledge. I wonder when the archaeologists do their work, at night when the tourists are gone?
Finally, some tour groups left and I was able to get a photo from the front entrance area.
Video of Pit 1.
Just outside the exit of the museum is a small tourist shopping area, and behind that is yet another construction site; they seem to be EVERYWHERE in China.
NO trampling!
A beautiful fountain.
And another beautiful fountain. The flags are in honor of National Day.


  1. Joshooah Lovenkraft27 October, 2010 08:32

    Greetings from across the way. Wow such amazing pics and videos!! Even one is pretty spectacular, but the immense army of them is quite profound. Love your banner with all your students too!!

  2. Oh wow! I saw the exhibit when it was here in DC at the National Geographic, and I thought that was amazing. *This* is waaaay better. It's hard to imagine the immensity of the project. *hugs*

  3. Yes, I had seen reproductions of one or two warriors, but seeing them in their actual location and in the process of being unearthed was truly amazing. I had some pangs of regret that I didn't pursue a career in archaeology.