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Xi'an, China

Added a new blog entry (the one directly after this one) about our arrival in Xi'an. It explains about arriving safely but not safe.

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  • Yesterday (Monday) we went to the famous terra cotta statues. We first visited an old settlement from 6000 years ago. Here is the plaque as you enter the building:

    Here is a pit that contains the remains of a woman (top) as well as some clay pots. The pots are believed to have been buried at the same so she could use them in her next life:

    Here is another burial site with the same idea with the pots:

    This is what the inside of the building looks like as they have preserved the site:

    It was pretty hot yesterday. Our tour guide said that, "It's only 35 C today." Yeah, well 95 F is pretty dang hot for a couple of guys from Alaska. It's even hotter today. I suppose that it's only 38 C today (100.4 F) so I probably shouldn't complain!

    After we visited the old settlement, we were taken to a site that shows what the inside of the Emperor Qin's tomb looks like. It's a reproduction as they have not officially opened that to the public. It's pretty tacky looking so I didn't take any pictures.

    To read about the terra cottas themselves, this is a good website to visit:

    After we visited the tacky 'museum', we went to lunch. We were trying to figure out if we were going to ACTUALLY SEE the terra cottas or not. Our guide spoke English well but it was still not certain (at least that was the consensus inside the van) whether we were actually going to see them or not. So after lunch, the seven of us piled back into the van and headed through traffic to the drop-off point. The drop-off point is probably a half mile or so from the actual statues. It is common here for the tours to start well in advance of the actual place you are visiting. They do this so that you have to walk through a labrynth of shops and vendors. Neat marketing ploy but it does get bothersome.

    In any case, we have to take an electric cart that holds about nine people to the actual museum. Here is a picture of what the line looked like:

    Just like with traffic and the train station, there are no 'lanes' to follow. You just pack yourself into the crowd and fight for position as you move forward. I was a little testy yesterday as the heat was frying my patience. Plus, all those darn umbrellas kept hitting me in the face. When it was time for our group to get on the cart, people were pushing me from behind so they could get on the cart themselves. I'd had enough by then and so I blocked the left side of the line as these two guys are saying 'GO! GO!' I replied in my best Chinese, 'NO!' It was crazy just to get on the cart.

    We finally make it to the site where the statues are being excavated.

    This first picture is rather dark but if you look carefully, you can see in the right upper portion what looks like bent logs. Well, that's what they are. The statues were placed in the bottom of the pit and then covered with a roof of sorts made from fabric and logs. This was then covered with dirt in order to keep them hidden. The statues were built in order to protect Emperor Qin in his next life. He was in power from 221-206 BC. When he came to power at age 13, he immediately had work started on his tomb and so these statues were being made as early as 221 BC.

    These next pictures show chariots that were excavated and then displayed on the main floor of the museum.

    The chariots are made of bronze, copper, and gold. I can't remember their significance.

    These next shots show what the warriors looked like back then.They had archers:

    Cavalry Men:
    High Ranking Officers:
    and other fighting warriors.

    Here is a kneeling archer:

    You can see the color on his back armor. This is pretty rare to find a statue with color still intact.

    These next pictures turned out dark. I tried to fix them with a program I have on the computer but they didn't turn out real well:

    This next one:

    shows the actual brick flooring. There are also many heads missing. They are not sure why the heads are missing. One theory is that the site was possibly looted more than a thousand years ago. However, that's just a theory.

    Here's a bunch more:

    This next picture shows a lady spraying water on the statues:

    The site is an active archeological dig. The building that was built over the site is built like a green house in order to keep as much humidity inside as possible. They need to keep the statues moist so they don't crack. So with the greenhouse effect and the misting spray the statues are being preserved as best as possible.

    Here's more:

    This last picture is with a Japanese student and new friend that was with our tour:

    Her name is Toshimi and she is going to school in Beijing I believe.

    This museum was very cool. Seeing how distinct each face and body of every statue is quite amazing. All of this was done 2200 years ago and so that makes it even more impressive. This was an awesome experience!

    Tonight we ride around on a bike on the top of the wall that surrounds this city. Xi'an (zhe ann) is one of the first capitals in China. They built a wall around the city as well as a moat in order to keep enemies out. The wall is about 14 kilometers long (though shaped in a square) or about 9 miles. We'll do this in the evening when it cools down to ONLY 30 C or so. I hope we get some good pictures.

    permalink written by  akstoltzy on June 15, 2010 from Xi'an, China
    from the travel blog: China
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