Katie wanted to meet us in China when she heard about our trip, especially to see the Terracotta Warriors. When she worked in The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, they hosted the traveling exhibit on the warriors and Katie worked that exhibit. We were so excited to see the warriors; it was certainly an anticipated highlight.
The Warriors are near the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Haung. He was a brutal emperor but he was the man that united all of China into what we know today. It is believed by most archeologist that he created this vast army (and other things) because he believed he was going to rule in death as he had in life. Part of why this site is so incredible is that no two statues are identical; each has unique, handmade face and torso; .
We started in pit 1, which is the largest pit. It is actually so large it is housed in an aircraft carrier. It is believed to have 6,000 warriors, 140 horses and 35 chariots (those were made of wood; all that is left is impressions of those on the rock). There are only about 2,000 warriors on display currently and the area is still an active archeological site.
We especially loved the setup of this pit. When you walk in, one looks down on warriors that have been rebuilt. Behind that, are pieces of the warriors, showing the condition of the digs, and behind that is the ground yet to be excavated. See it all was truly a moment that took our breath away. The area is huge, and the idea that this entire pit was filled with warriors is a stunning concept.
Pit 3 is the smallest pit and contains 72 warriors with a few horses. This pit was believed to be the army headquarters due to the number of high ranking officials buried here. The archaeologists were able to determine the rank of the statues due to the impressive details of their hair and clothing.
Pit 2 contains 1300 warriors and numerous horses. This pit is mostly not excavated but using technology they known that there is a set of archers (standing and kneeling), numerous cavalry men with horses as well as numerous chariots.
We all thought that the best part of this section was the five warriors you can examine close up. The coolest one, in Megan’s opinion, was the kneeling archer. He was one of 160 kneeling archers found in pit 2; however, he is the only warriors to have been found fully intact in the entire site.
There was a standing archer on display.
We saw a Calvary man and his horse on display. Katie enjoyed seeing this as the horse had a circular whole on its side like the one at The Children’s Museum. It was explained to us that this was for the kiln.
There was a mid-ranking officer.
One of the seven high-ranking officers (generals) was also on display. This was one of our favorites as well. We loved being able to see all of this clothes up close and the incredible detail in them. He wore double-layered robes under colorful, fish scaled armor. He also had 8 knots on his front, arms, and back to help indicate his high rank, as well as a styled hair to indicate rank.
Our final stop with The Terracotta Warriors was to see the bronze chariots and horses. While the warriors were made to be slightly larger then life-life this was built to be smaller. There are two chariots with horses pulling it made of bronze, gold and a few other metals. They were found buried 20 meters from Qin Shi Huang tomb.
We stopped to see the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang. It is rumored to have taken 38 years to complete. It is also rumored to have palaces of precious stones, rivers of mercury and defense traps inside of the tomb. The artisans that build and design the tomb were buried alive in the tomb to ensure the tomb remained a secret. The tomb has been scanned with modern technology, and it indeed has increased levels of mercury, in places more then 100 times the normal amount found in the earth. The scans also indicate that there might be traps in the tomb as well. For these reason, there are currently no plans to excavate his tomb. It is simply a large mound on top the ground.
We were able to also stop and see The Big Goose Pagoda. It is a brick, Tang-style pagoda; which there are very few examples of in China. Tang style refers to the fact that it is a square pagoda vs. round. It was built in 625 AD to house Buddhist sutras brought back from India by Xian Zang.
Our final stop on our marathon day tour was The Shaanxi History Museum. It is home to the only comprehensive history displays of the Shaanxi territory. Some of our favorite items were actually about the a terracotta Warriors. We saw a warrior that maintained a decent amount of his original pigmentation. It was impressive to try and imagine all those warriors lined up, in color.
Katie also knew about a part of the terracotta warrior site that isn’t open to the public, the water garden. The museum had on display artifacts from this water garden. There were two bronze birds on display.
There were also statues discovered around the water garden. They are hypothisized to either have be musicians, rowing a boat, or even conducting the birds in a type of show. We think one of the statues was on display at this museum as well. There were not clear signs about this statue in English but his arms and hands appear as if he could be playing an instrument or conducting the birds? Either way we were all very excited to see things from the water garden.
Gilded Bronze Dragon with Iron Core (Tang Dynasty):
Bronze Dragon (Warring States period, Qin Dynasty):
We had lunch provided, and it included several dishes, including bok choy, sweet & sour chicken, cauliflower, and a peppery duck.
After the museum we were taken back to our hostel when Katie made a quick departure to the airport. It was a hard goodbye with a few tears as she drove off in the cab.
Katie flew back a few day earlier then planned to Indiana to attend the funeral of her beloved Grandma. Megan was lucky enough to have known Grandma through a few meetings in Indianapolis, and being invited to their large family vacation to Traverse City, Michigan. Grandma was a kind-hearted women with a sharp wit and great sense of humor. She will be deeply missed by many people.