Trekking Through China…Xi’an…Terra Cotta Warriors

This photo, taken in a different museum in Xi’an, shows the clarity of facial features…each soldier’s face is apparently unique!

The numbers are staggering. “700,000 forced laborers were sacrificed to construct his [Qin Shi Huang’s] tomb which was begun as soon as he ascended the throne. All workers and childless concubines were interred with him to safeguard its secrets.” (Read more here)

“Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits near by Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum.[1] Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians….all buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.” (Wikipedia)

We were told the story of how in March 1974, a group of farmers began digging around in their dirt fields to find a well, resulting in one of the most astounding discoveries and leading to one of the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. The day we were at the site, the farmer who has been credited with the discovery of the warriors, was in the museum signing copies of his book (but we weren’t allowed to take pictures of him).

As we learned from our visit there, the excavations are ongoing and the work continues to be slow and painstaking, since many of the figures are being unearthed in pieces that must be matched to the right limbs, torsos and heads (and weapons too).

The sight was astounding, the workmanship mind-boggling and the scope more enormous than we had been able to grasp in anything we had read on the subject previously. This was another place where I just had to stop and “be” and soak it all in. The crowds were enormous and daunting, one had to push and shove one’s way to the front to be able to get a picture (I didn’t enjoy having to push my way through, but I DID like finally getting to that railing and being able to take my pictures). Even so, it was impossible to get one picture that would encompass the entire scope of what lay before our eyes…I had to buy a postcard to get THAT picture, lol.

Anyway, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings (blog), 2012. All rights reserved.

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My first glimpse!!! Impossible to capture the enormous scope of the project!

No two are alike.

A view from the side gallery.

On and on and on they march!

These horses and chariots are HUGE! Imagine hundreds of them being handcrafted only to be buried!

Such intricate detail!


I had to ask someone to take this, just to prove to myself later that I really was there!

About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
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3 Responses to Trekking Through China…Xi’an…Terra Cotta Warriors

  1. now we believe that you were there 😛
    nice pics and a good post
    thanks 4 sharing 🙂


  2. I saw a program on PBS about that. It’s fantastic that you were able to see them in person; must have been awesome!


    • Sharon says:

      I remember reading about them in various magazine articles, and reading about the enormous line-ups at various museums a few years ago when the Terra Cotta Warriors went on a traveling display. Yes, we were very fortunate to see them in their “home” habitat, and it WAS awesome!!


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