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The Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an

CHINA | Tuesday, 12 August 2014 | Views [567]

The Terracotta Wariors

The Terracotta Wariors

WE PLAYED WITH TOY SOLDIERS WHEN WE WERE KIDS.  At the age of thirteen, Emperor Qin Shi Huang created an army of life-sized terracotta soldiers more than two-thousand years ago.  An assembly line of seven hundred thousand men created 6000 archers, cavalry, generals and foot soldiers complete with bronze weapons and chariots.  They were painted in bright colors and each had a unique face, the face of the artist who created him.  He didn’t pay with his soldiers as we did, their mission was to help him rule the underworld.  When he died they were interned with him in five separate pits not far from Xi’an and remained lost to the world until 1974 when a farmer discovered them in his field.  It was fortuitous that they remained hidden until Mao died as they likely would have been destroyed during the "Cultural Revolution."

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    Every face is unique

China considers them the “Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World.”  Maybe so - they are pretty spectacular.  At least UNESCO included them as a World Heritage site, which they definitely are.  The only problem with the Terracotta Warriors is that they are so spectacular.  The crowds are enormous, pushing and shoving for the best vantage points and snapping “selfies” with the soldiers for background.

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    In living color

We’re in Xi’an, for 1500 years the capital of China and the eastern terminus of the Silk Road.  Today Xi’an is an industrial center with air so polluted it makes Beijing seem like a breath of spring.  There are two bright spots; the famous Terracotta Warriors and Ning, our guide.  At 24 he is a rookie in the Wendy Wu stables with a bubbling personality, the enthusiasm of a kid and excellent English.  I almost wish we were staying longer but we must fly to Tibet in the morning.

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   Xian's air pollution . . . and the cause

 

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