Thursday's Child: Terracotta Army, Xian, China

Thursday, February 21, 2013
One of the most incredible feats of art or architecture I've seen are the Terracotta warriors of Xian, China. Built in about 200 B.C, they were buried and hidden from the world until 1974, when local farmers digging a well accidentally unearthed them.

This collection of life-sized warriors and horses made of terracotta were commissioned by the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang.  Designed to represent his imperial guard, they were built in pieces and then assembled before being fired.  Many of them are believed to have been built holding actual weapons, although those have since either rotted or been stolen.

Although excavation still continues, it's estimated that there are 8,000 soldiers, 130 carriages and 600 horses. Historical records show that over 700,000 workers were involved in building this army. And the terracotta pieces probably owe their survival to the fact that the emperor insisted they be buried with him when he died.

The history behind these magnificent warriors is fascinating, but the most amazing moment was that breathtaking second when we walked into the chamber and were faced with lines of soldiers that seemingly went on forever.  They were an incredible testament to the creativity and vision of a long-gone empire.




20 comments:

Kittie Howard said...

About two years ago, the Smithsonian had an exhibit that was amazing. Oh how I'd love to walk among statues that went on forever!

yummychunklet said...

Impressive photos!

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Wow, that sounds incredible! I've never visited China (or anywhere in Asia) but I'd love to go someday. =)

Belinda said...

Incredible! Have always wanted to see this!

Food Gal said...

Those terracotta warriors never cease to amaze me, especially because each one is so distinctive.

Rebecca Subbiah said...

wow would love to go one day my parents are planning a trip next year

Guru Uru said...

What a wonderful looking trip my friend to China :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Natalie Aguirre said...

Love your photos. Especially since I've been there too. Amazing they're still working on this. Thanks for sharing.

Liz Berg said...

Another reason I want to go to China! What an amazing sight!!!

Angie's Recipes said...

Stunning! I have always wanted to visited Xian...

Joanne said...

Wow...I can't imagine the time it took to make all of these with such fine detail.

Elaine said...

Beth, thse are incredible! I never seen anything like this. The detail! Wow! How tall are they?

Carol Riggs said...

Wow, that is amazing! Great details, too. :)

Kathy said...

Oh wow! These are incredible, Beth! Love the detail on each one.

The Café Sucré Farine said...

I saw a whole program on these, so amazing, it's almost unbelievable!

Chocolate Shavings said...

They are so intricately made - and almost life-like! What a grandiose piece of art.

Claudia said...

I am amazed. What an experience - what an undertaking! Truly a grand discovery. And you were there. You must know how every muscle twitched when you walked with them.

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, a few years ago, there was an exhibition in Bonn where a number of these terracotta soldiers were on display - it was breathtaking. So, I am sure that it must have been quite a unique experience seeing them in China. Absolutely fascinating!

Patty said...

I've always been curious to see this in person I'm going to have to make that happen ;)

Paula Montenegro said...

Something to remember forever and marvel at! Incredible experience Beth. Glad you shared it.

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