Tuesday, July 11, 2006


After heeding the warnings about the various tours to see the Terracotta Warriors we headed out there on our own. Its way out in the countryside. On the bus journey there you pass numerous shops that are selling full size replicas of the statues. Pretty much you see the museum on the way there due to these road-side shops. When you arrive at the museum drop off point, you are immediately pounced upon by "guides". Some are official, some are not. The non-official ones confidently explain there are no English translations and they speak excellent English etc, etc, etc. Of course at your dismissal of their services they then try to sell you stuff. Enterprising to the end.
At the bus drop off point there's a shuttle that can take you to the actual entrance to the museum. This way you avoid the hawkers along the footpath. And you avoid melting in the heat. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing. Yep we chose the melting human way.
After avoiding the guides, we entered the museum and relative relief in the "pits". Nice and cool in there. It was pretty impressive to see all of these statues standing to attention. Pity the poor buggers who had to haul all of these things here though. And what does it say about the Emperor? Slightly obsessive perhaps?
There are signs everywhere that say excavation is still in progress, yet the official photos from the past look suspiciously similar to what we saw. Progress must be very slow indeed. But in the smaller pits its really cool to see the reliefs of the wooden stuff that was there; chariot wheels, roof beams etc. The details on the statues are amazing as are the weapons. And considering this whole thing is a couple of thousand years old, the shear man power and technology involved is mind-boggling. Especially when I consider what my ancestors were doing two thousand years ago...
Impressive as it was, I wasn't as gob-smacked as I thought I would be. Perhaps in part 'cos I was hot 'n hoha, or perhaps 'cos the warriors on display are replicas. Age, fire and nature having reduced the original clay warriors to pieces over the years. Taking away that "X" factor for me. Appreciation of the artisans work and the slaves sheer fortitude can never be taken away. Even the Enperor's image of grandeur can be admired.

Impressive, yes. Would I go back? Hmmm...

1 comment:

Vernon said...

It's the economy of millenia.
Step 1, slave labour to build - it's cheaper to turn people into slaves than employ them in the army.
Step 2, once enough building is complete to satisfy ones obsession, kill of everyone and prepare to go under yourself.
Step 3, wait a few thousand years.
Step 4, in the secret note that has been passed down through the generations, reveal the location to archeaologists, turn it into a tourist (read money) trap and if you have a large population again, they can employ themselves as "guides" and sell you stuff forever, or until you give in and pay them to leave you in some peace and quiet for 2 minutes!

Pretty hot there eh? Glad to hear you went to see the Warriors on your own. Saved yourself a lot of hassle.