Saturday, May 4, 2013

Terra Cotta Soldiers -Alex Harrison

The Terra Cotta Warrior army was created in 210 BC for Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The purpose of the warriors was to protect the Emperor in his afterlife. Over 8,000 warriors were created across three different pits- all of which have been discovered. However, archeologists are still unearthing pits 1 and 2 as villagers burned down the original wooden roofs during an ancient revolution. This revolution is also the reason why almost no weapons were found, as the villagers raided the pits for weapons to fight. A torch left behind sparked a fire that buried the tomb. When the various roofs fell, all 8,000 of the figures were crushed and broken- leaving no intact soldier. 

The pits were forgotten until 1974 when a farmer discovered pit 1 when digging a well. Because China was and is a Communist country, the government owned the land- however, they decided to pay the farmer a whopping 30 Yuan which is around 5 U.S. dollars. The farmer did not think it was fair that only he receive the money, so he split it with his village, ending up with around .072 Yuan, or 1 cent. The pits were then dug up and became a national hot spot for tourism, putting Xi'an on the map. Archaeologists have painstakingly put together many soldiers together, but the job still continues. The detail of each figure is absolutely amazing- no two are soldiers are exactly alike.

 We had a great time at the Terra Cotta Warrior museum. The history of the area was amazing and overwhelming. We first visited pit number 1, which is the largest of the three pits. A walkway surrounds the entire pit, allowing visitors to take pictures from every angle. The well in which the farmer dug in 1974 can be viewed from pit number 1. After this pit, we traveled to pit 3. This is the only pit that is completely excavated, yet is much smaller than pits 1&2. We were able to walk around this pit, which is also known as the command center, and take pictures. 

We then took a break and ate lunch in a museum restaurant, which was served in the traditional, family style. After lunch, we visited the final pit, pit number 2. This was a medium-sized pit, which contained many cavalry. We walked around the pit, and took many pictures. Finally, we traveled to the park's museum section where we learned about the history of the warriors as well as the park. Overall, the Terra Cotta Army was a fantastic experience.

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