Thursday, January 20, 2011


In another weekend excursion, I have found myself going to Xi’an with my New Zealand mate Jackson, and his girlfriend and a few of her classmates at school. In large group of 8 we were made up quite diverse group; 2 Australians and New Zealanders, a Korean, Japanese, and one from Ghana and myself. Xi’an once the capital of China is known for being the Eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home of the Terracotta Army.  Faced with the brutal winter conditions, we were hit with negative 5-9 degrees the whole trip. Bundled with thermals, sweatshirts, coats, double socks, beanies and gloves we made an adventure out of it. Arriving Friday night, we took a bus into the city where our hostel was, literally across the street from the Bell Tower.  We trekked around for a little bit but decided to call it an early night as we had big plans for Saturday. Running on about 5 hours of sleep we were up before the sun was, and ready to see the Terracotta Army, which was about an hour outside the city.

Just some background on the army

        This Army was discovered in 1974 by local farmers when trying to dig a water well. There were no records of the army but there were records of the king’s tomb near by.
         The figures vary in height 1.83–1.95 metres (6.0–6.4 ft), according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pit. Each figure is different from the other which and the details on each soldier are very intricate, which makes these soldiers even more impressive.  The king started the project when he was 13 and had hundreds of thousands of workers constantly working on this project until he died randomly in his 50’s. The most impressive feat is that all of these soldiers are hand painted using 13 different colors. Unfortunately, the technology is not good enough to preserve the colors when they are unburied, which causes them to loose color instantly and completely vanish within 3 days, which is why many of the soldiers are still buried. The Army is dispersed into 3 different pits with pit one being where all the rebuilt soldiers are, there are roughly 2000 soldiers in pit 1 and it takes about 6 monthes to put back together each soldier with a crew of 50 people working on it. In pit 3, this is were most of the solders are preserved, pretty much meaning that they are still buried.

While I have seen a lot of impressive things in my life, this could single handedly be one of the most impressive things ever. The time and details that were used to construct this army blows my mind. The amount of work and labor and thought put into this project was a bit over the top but that is why it is amazing.

Lucky for us, we visited the Army on a weekend, which meant that one of the local farmers that found the army was there to take pictures and sign books. We took a group picture with the farmer but unfortunately it is on one of the other people’s camera, which I will get soon hopefully.

After visiting the Terracotta Army, we walked around Xi’an and explored the e Great Mosque, Bell and Drum Tower and then went to the night market, which was filled with tons of various street foods and other goodies.

Bell Tower

The Group in front of the Terracotta Army Museum

Terracotta Warriors

In front of Pit 1

After the King died, the project stopped

Still uncovering remains

The "Hospital" where the soldier are put back together

You can see a little bit of the remaining color, also how detailed the soldiers are

impressive detailed hair

What the warriors look like when first unburied

Drum Tower

Garbage on the Street


Little boy gettin his grill on

The next morning, we go up early and took a bike tour on the Great City wall. Jackson and I rode a tandem bike, and we rode across the wall for about an hour before catching our flight home.

Guy with a Camera Box as his hat

Prepping for Chinese New Years

Xi'an Wall

No comments:

Post a Comment