Monday, February 15, 2010

a glimpse of the past: terra cotta warriors

just over two years ago, i was planning a trip.  it was to be the trip of a lifetime, to a place i'd long dreamt of seeing.  it was not meant to be.  instead i deployed to afghanistan and that was the closest i got.  this weekend i got a little closer.

i caught a glimpse of what that trip would have been as i spent an hour wandering among a few of the curiosities of the Qin empire, which were on display here in dc.  the terra cotta warrior exhibit was small, but fascinating.  there were only about a dozen actual terra cotta warriors and horses on display, along with weapons, tools, and recreations of the creative process for the warriors and horses.

no photographs were allowed inside the exhibit, but we were allowed to photograph a replica.

i've always been curious about these lifesize replicas of an army frozen in perfect military formation, surrounding the first emperor's tomb.  i remember reading about the terra cotta warriors in the national geographic magazine, and since then i have wanted to see them and the great wall.  well, at least if i never make there in person, i can now say that i saw some of them.

i learned a lot.  for instance, emperor Qin was about 13 years old when he began construction on his tomb.  he commanded that each soldier and horse be distinct with their own markings and faces.  there was also a model of a palace, which when it caught fire burned for three months.  this palace had been deemed unworthy by the emperor before it caught fire, and construction on a new palace had begun.  actually, the emperor had several palaces because he was paranoid of being assassinated.  rightfully so, as there was at least one attempt on his life. 

fascinating stuff.  there's loads more to read online, and NG has some of the best here.
enjoy!  i did.

1 comment:

Angela said...

These warriors are so fascinating! I read a bit about them on the NG site. It would be fascinating to visit China, eh? Perhaps you can go now (and hopefully not get deployed!)