Xi'an Day 2
So after a deep sleep with neither of us waking for a nice change, we got up and changed ready for our 8:30 departure to see the Terracotta Warriors. We arrived at reception along with 3 Romanian’s ready for the tour. Off we went with the guide who was very informative and at around 10 we arrived at a factory that makes replica Warriors, after a swift visit on we went towards the Warrior museum. At 11 we decided to stop for lunch as we were all starving, the guide took us to a traditional Chinese restaurant where we ate rice, noodles, Kung pao chicken and various other meat dishes. The food was good and so was the company as by now we had broken the ice with the Romanians and found we had enough in common to keep the conversation flowing and a had few laughs. Over the meal the 2 of the Romanians told us how good their friend was at bartering and later we put her skills to the test.
We arrived at the site of the warriors around 12:30; the Warriors were made as protection for the Emperor’s tomb and over 6000 in total guard the tomb. They are over 2000 years old and were first discovered in 1974 when a farmer was drilling a well. First we entered the museum and cinema which were ok but not of great interest.
We visited the pits containing the Warriors by order of size starting with the smallest. This was pit 3. It was amazing. It contained a few warriors and horses. They were life size and they believe that this was meant to represent some sort of meeting room, as the Warriors face each other. The horses originally had a chariot attached, however as this was made of wood it had decomposed and disintegrated when they opened the pit. The second pit only had a few Warriors on show as they have hardly started excavating it yet. They did however have displays of each type of Warrior in glass cabinets. These on display are the only ones so far that have been found whole. All of the others have been damaged or in lots of pieces and have had to be restored. A couple of them are also the only ones that still have some colour on them. All of the Warriors when they were handmade 2000 years ago all had colour but as soon as they excavate them they lose their colour by some oxidative process. They are currently studying how to excavate them without losing their entire colour. The first pit is by far the largest, probably the size of a football pitch. This pit is thought to contain 6000 Warriors. There are also horses, minus their carriages. They are still also working on this pit and you can see the workers collecting pieces of each Warrior and piling them together in one excavation site and further down there is a team of workers that rebuilds them.
What is so interesting about these Warriors is the skills of the Chinese people 200 years ago. They are all handmade and contain so much detail. There are no two Warriors that look alike, they each have their own build, some are fatter than others (the higher they rank in the army the fatter they are so the General’s have a fat stomach – also known as General belly), There is details in the clothing, the hair, the face and the hands. To have had these skills 2000 years ago is astonishing. It is also interesting that this site is where they have found the first bricks used by the Chinese in the construction of a wall and to this day they still use the same type of brick.
Seeing the eighth wonder of the world was really unbelievable.
When we returned from the Terracotta Warriors James had a little sleep while I worked on my publication. Then we had dinner at the hostel and tonight we will retire to the dormitory. Agh! We have a 7am start tomorrow to see the Panda sanctuary so lets hope we get a good nights sleep.