Grand Dynasty Culture Hotel Xian is very nice except, again, no one speaks much English but we manage. Excellent breakfast then on to see the Terracotta Warriors.
The Terracotta Army (Chinese: 兵马俑; literally: “Soldier-and-horse funerary statues”) is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.
The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. (Wikipedia)
Went first to the workshop which turned out to be more of a gift shop but allowed us to see people making figures the ancient way. We try out forms. The men are over sized and each has a distinctive face, no two are alike!
There are three pits and the wooden roofs had all collapsed so archeologists are piecing the figures back together. It takes over a month for one to be completed.
Lots of crowds here of Chinese tourists, very popular site. Much of the site is still unexcavated as the Chinese are searching for better ways to preserve paint on the statutes. Each was brightly colored when new.
In China we saw precious little oppression. We were told by Michael our Chinese guide to take pictures of soldiers or policemen if we wanted but to never ask their permission. I got a couple of shots in Tiananmen Square from the rear. But we never encountered any problems until we reached the Terracotta Warriors.
Our guide Milly, also Chinese, had had a rough night dealing with a sick man on our tour and had had little sleep. As we were walking back to the bus, she chose to take a short cut down through a nice walkway that lead to a series of expensive tourist shops that looked quite abandoned. Two policeman tried to redirect us the way the crowds were streaming but Milly pushed ahead.
One of the policemen got in her face and started screaming at her, pointing to the crowded exit. She talked back. Although we couldn’t understand the exchange, we all waited. Suddenly, Milly took out her cell phone and started to take a picture of the policeman’s badge. Immediately he and his embarrassed partner left the scene. It was quite a display of bullying. I wondered how many times this happened as I had read about it in Peter Hessler’s book on China.