Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors

16 04 2010

We arrived on time at 8.25am and even had an English speaking staff member come around with 10 minutes to go to tell us to get our luggage ready. We came out of the station and there was a large crowd of waiting people. We found our hostel waiting point and got a lift to the Han Tang hostel. The rooms were updated with big beds and clean bathrooms (although, like all of China so far, the shower is over the toilet and TP goes in a bin, not flushed). The staff were friendly and the common areas nice to relax in, although I wish I could have patted the cute rabbits out in the pool table room.

We were fortunate enough to take the last 2 seats on the Terracotta warrior tour that morning, leaving about half and hour later. First stop at reproduction factory that creates statues using the same Li mountain clay as the real warriors. It included the obligatory tour shopping – do I look like I can afford a 2m high terracotta warrior for my garden, and no I don’t care if the price includes shipping and insurance!?

From there to the Terracotta Warrior museum. Pit 2 was almost original- many rows still covered with dirt, and the rows that had been uncovered were filled with destroyed pieces of clay. An army sacked the tomb and stole all the real weapons and destroyed the terracotta warriors. So, later when farmers discovered the pits everything was in ruin. All warriors that people see today have been painstakingly pieced together by archeologists.

Pit 3 was a smaller pit, the control centre and Pit 1 was the one you see photos of- rows and rows of standing warriors, although only about 1000 of the 8000 original warriors have been put back together. Apparently life size, I think they are actually larger than life, especially Chinese life.The tallest is 1.98m (shortest 1.78) and range from 100-300 kg. That’s much bigger than me! The warriors used to be coloured, but have since lost their colour. Although there are thousands, there are actually only 5 types, a soldier, archer, general, officer and horse rider.

Dumpling party at the hostel at night, but we already know how to make gyoza so we just asked the hostel kitchen for rice and vegetables. So many of the vegan restaurants serve predominantly mockmeats that it’s nice to eat some fresh veg now and then.