When I decided to come to China, THIS was THE thing I intended to see above anything else. China has changed capital cities many times in its 5000 years, but Xi’an is a serious contender for the oldest. It was the capital of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China; the one English gets the word “China” from, the one who unified the previous warring kingdoms, and told everyone in those previous kingdoms they would now all write in one language. He ordered burned all books in any language other than Chinese, and murdered anyone who questioned the emperor’s immortality. He was a mixed bag.
I think what I love most about the army he ordered created for him in the afterlife is that I knew about the army before I knew who it was for. When I mentioned Qin in Canada before leaving, no one knew who I meant…but I’d say “He built the terracotta soldiers,” and “OH, yeah!” Congratulations, Emperor Qin — your army is more famous than you.
The mountains bordering Xi’an.
Rose garden in the park of the museum.
Dr Seuss trees.
Building housing the bronze chariots and horses. I didn’t get photos of them — the 80,000 other people visiting that day made it crazy.
Building of Pit number 1, discovered in 1974. It contains the 6,000 foot soldiers found SO FAR.
Building of Pit number 2, discovered in 1986. The size of a smallish aircraft hangar.
We saw the pits in reverse order. This is number 3, the “smallest”, discovered in 1986. These are the officers in their strategy meeting. For. Real.
I. LOVE. THE. HORSES.
The statues were all free-standing when buried — these columns weren’t filled in!
Over the centuries, the ground shifted under and over them, and they broke.
The archaeologists tried to leave things as they found them.
Pit 2…most of which is partly excavated.
Once everyone realised the paint of the statues in Pit 1 disintegrated in the OPEN AIR, it was decided to not uncover anything more.
The hope is that we’ll eventually find a way to preserve the colours on the statues still buried.
My favourites are the archers. Each had a wooden crossbow. Most of those had disintegrated — a few are being reassembled and preserved.
Traces of paint left on one archer’s armour.
Pit 2 was an enormous company of foot soldiers, archers, and calvary.
Of the 8,000 statues revealed so far, about 2,000 are here.
THEY GAVE THE HORSES FACES.
Pit number 1.
I LOVE that the office is still just sitting there!
Emperor Qin’s tomb is another 1.5 km AWAY from all this.
Some believe this company of soldiers stretches all the way underground to the foot of his tomb. There’s no knowing until more digging can be done.
Broken statues being reassembled.
The uncovered end of Pit 1. It’s still a working site.