When I found out we were going to China, I booked myself a flight to Xian and spent a day to visit Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times.
From the airport, it was a 2-and-a-half hour bus ride to see the museum. I was happy to meet one of the farmers who accidentally discovered the head of the first terracotta warrior at the shop. I even had a picture taken with him!
The area was huge. One has to take a shuttle to go to the pits to see the clay figurines. Basically, the museum showcases the collection of Terracotta sculptures made of clay depicting the army of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.
These life-sized figurines totaling to 8,000, were created differently and uniquely. The Emperor ordered that every warrior should be completely individual. I can say that my travel was worth it. I was really interested with them upon watching their history on television, so I had to see to it, at any cost, that I get to visit Xi’an to see the Terracotta with my very own eyes. I advise you do the same. There is really more to China than the more famous “Great Wall”.
For those unable to make the journey to Xi’an, some of the choicest specimens unearthed there form the centerpiece of two successive traveling exhibitions that survey the reign of Qin Shi Huangdi (221 B.C.-210 B.C.). “The First Emperor,” organized by the British Museum, debuted in London before moving to the High Museum in Atlanta. A second show, “Terra Cotta Warriors,” then opened at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. It is now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science through October 18, and then moves to the National Geographic Society Museum in Washington, D.C. for display from November 19 to March 31, 2010. Read more here.