Today my dream of 30+ years came true – I saw the Terracotta Army, of which I dreamed seeing since I was a really young teenager. My better half & I are also in agreement it would be really great, if we could stay longer in Xi’an, but our flight to Beijing leaves at 7.40am tomorrow morning.
This fantastic ancient city really is the heart of China (or as Mr. Li, our guide put it: “If you want to see the present of China, go to Beijing; if you want to see the future of China, go to Shanghai; if you want to see the roots and history, go to Xi’an”)
But let me run you through our day:
First stop in the morning was the Terracotta Army. As stated above, I wanted to be here for a very long time, and I was not disappointed (other than I could spend months here to really learn and see). A few pics here:
In Hall 3 some of the human bones found are displayed – assumption is these are from the workers who had to die when closing the emperor’s grave:
The pic above shows a kneeling archer – the one below show the comparison of the County of Xi’an with the silhouette of a kneeling archer – now you know where the county’s nickname comes from.
A few more takes from the Army, then we’ll move on:
The picture above shows a small part of the complex scenery.
After this terrific experience (did I mention I have been waiting for this?) we had a quick stop at a jade museum – interesting if you’re into it.
From the jade museum we went to the Xi’an Museum of History – and this really is a museum about history; I could spend weeks in there. It basically covers 6-7000 years of culture, architecture, art and how-to – if you plan to visit Xi’an, plan at least a few extra hours for this (we didn’t, so we really had to rush through); still some nice insights:
The picture above shows how Xi’an has probably looked like around 6-7000 years ago, an early artefact from that time here:
Bells of an only slightly younger age:
The picture above shows a tea pot with a tiger riding (i.e. defeating) a hippo.
The duck in the next picture actually is a smoke-free lantern. The burning material was placed in the pot beneath the fish the duck holds in the beak, the duck then “swallows” the smoke through her throat into the water-filled belly. Pretty amazing!
Some more impressions from the museum:
The following pictures show that also later emperors did build their own terracotta armies, but due to costs the statues got smaller and smaller over time, going from life size to puppet size and less complex (mass production with all figures having e.g. the same face versus the original army where every soldier is individual):
From the museum we now moved on to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Due to the rain we decided to not climb up – the view was “limited” by heavy rain, so not worth the effort. Still also a very impressive building – actually the whole monastery is!
The picture displayed above covers the room on three of four walls – and is made of jade. A fantastic piece of art.
Funny enough we ran into some nice folks we met on the Yangtze tour in this room – well of course in a city of just a few million people it’s easy to run into each other 😉
Last action before we headed for dinner was visiting the artists’ room in the monastery where we a) ran into the “temporary” guide, Mrs Liu, from the day before (for the 2nd time today) and also (thank you, Mr. Li for the idea) got an introduction into Chinese art. So now we got our names in Chinese language (did not yet take pictures, will do soon) and I also bought a nice piece of art from a local artist. The artists’ room / gallery in the monastery is actually considering every gift or purchase as a donation and uses the money one spends there, or e.g the price they get for donated paintings, to fund social activities including food for the poor.
After dinner we went over to our hotel room – we have to get up quite early, so call it a day now.
Stay tuned – next update from Beijing.