Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Terra Cotta Warriors at the National Geographic Museum in DC

(Below is a replica of one of the terra cotta warriors. I took this photo. We were able to take photographs of this replica after the exhibit. All other photos of the warriors are wikipedia.com.)

The National Geographic Museum in Washinton DC has brought the MOST amazing exhibit to our area. The 'Terra Cotta Warriors', guardians of China's first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. In 1974 farmers were digging in fields outside of the Xi'an Shaanshi provence, and found this amazing discovery of funerary pits, and deep inside these pits are thousands of terra cotta sculptures. Qin Shi Huang had built an impressive mausoleum to house an entire royal court including sculptures of horses, warriors, chariots, archers, musicians, entertainers, and animals to accompany him in the afterlife. It is estimated that there are over 8,000 figures buried at this site, but only about 1,000 have been excavated. According to historical documents, the immense mausoleum construction began in 246 BC and required the labor of 700,000 workers. The emporer was 13 when this project began. Qin Shi Huang is responsible for establishing a universal currency in China, as well as a system of writing that is still used today.He is also credited for starting to build the first versio of the Great Wall of China. Image of Qin Shi Huang:

The exhibit was very interesting and even the kids seem to enjoy themselves. I was fascinated at the immensity and scope of the project that this emperor invisioned. Qin Shi Huang was very paranoid about assisnation attempts, and had many palaces built. He slept in a different one each night so that he would evade assassins. In 221 BC Qi Shi Huang successfully united the warring states of China under one ruler, and so he called himself the first emperor of China.

As we walked around the exhibit, I was amazed to read about the intensive process of building each warrior and statue. To this day, historians do not know how they fired and built the horses, they are so immense. The figures were intricately painted to represent and reflect its role and purpose in the court or army of the emperor.

1 comment:

rodan32 said...

I'm sad I can't make it up there in time to see it. Sounds pretty amazing. (This is Zach, by the way; Chris's cousin).