Xian and the Terracotta Warriors

Xian is famous around the world for housing the Terracotta Warriors.  The figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by a local farmer digging for a well.  As our tourguide told us, the farmer now has a “nice job from the government,” he sits in a souvenir shop onsite on the weekends smoking cigarettes and autographing books.  In fact, we got a picture with him.



There are over 8,000 soldiers, chariots and horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.  They keep them buried because of 2 reasons: 1) Money and time (they are still undigging), and 2) We don’t yet have the techniques to keep the color from fading due to oxidation.  Currently, the color completely disappears after about 2 weeks. 


Another interesting thing we didn’t learn until we arrived is that all but one soldier was found broken to pieces.  There was an uprising shortly after the emperor died.  The people opened the pits, burned everything in site, stole weapons, and destroyed as many statues as possible.  The burning caused the some of the structure to collapse and the statues crushed under the weight of the dirt and wooden beams above them.  Archeaologists have to put the tiny  pieces of the soldiers back together and they have been doing an amazing job.


Also in Xian, we caught a traditional shadow puppet play.  The playhouse was located within a local Muslim nightly market.  Our tour guide told us to avoid this particular street because the market’s food was “dirty”.  Though this was exactly the local flavor we were looking for and we spent one of our best evenings there perusing local handicrafts and tasting local foods, such as red bean cakes, dumplings, and some cube-shaped sweet potato-based, spicy noodle type dish.


~ by The Piersas on October 18, 2008.

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