Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Monk by Da Ci'en Temple Altar, Xi'an #unescoworldheritage #through_the_travel_lens #igworld_global #unesco #buddhism #xian #chinatravel #chinagram #fivestars_people #portraitsfromtheworld #worship

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Hanyangling Terracotta Figures

This past Friday, I and a few other teachers were invited to attend an event at the Hanyangling Museum. A van picked us up directly from our school (which is located a fair distance south of Xi'an and took us to the museum which is located about 20 km north of the city and quite close to the airport.  Upon entering the complex, I immediately saw two large grass-covered mounds which were royal burial sites. The larger tomb belonged to Emperor Jin, who ruled the Western Han Dynasty from 180 BC-141 BC, and Empress Wang. Construction of the tomb began in 153 BC and ended in 146 BC.
Covering an area of 10 square km, the site also includes 86 burial pits, a ceremonial site, human sacrifice graveyard, and a cemetery for criminals. To reach the exhibition space of the museum, we descended in an underground tunnel; this is the first underground museum in China.
In general, the museum was rather dark. I wasn't sure whether this was due to its after-hours status or if it was typically this dark, perhaps to minimize the effects of light on the artifacts. Through the glass, visitors could see the burial pits which were still being excavated. In addition, some of the walkways had glass sections, enabling visitors to see items directly below.
Items just below the walkway, including horses, chariots, and figures
Some pits contained more pottery items and fragments of textiles. Others were full of naked ceramic figurines. Although they were about 1/10 life-size, their bodies included anatomical details and the faces were expressive. A few even had some remnants of paint, but most of the coloration had vanished years ago or when exposed to air. The wooden arms had long since rotted and the exquisite costumes deteriorated. In total, over 50,000 figurines were made to depict the royal court, a number that even exceeds that of the more famous Terracotta Warriors. Both male and female figures are represented, including female warriors, servants, eunuchs, singers, and dancers.
Figures with genitalia

In some pits, the figurines were vertical, as if ready to march. In others, the present arrangement reminded me of the parting of the sea or perhaps violent bowling. Broken fragments indicated visitors of the fragile nature of the sculptures and the amount of work needed to restore the artifacts. 
Entire herds of domesticated animals were also formed out of clay. Bones from animals were also seen. 
Further on in the museum were restored displays that attempted to give visitors an idea of how things originally looked. 
Restored display
Bells, weapons, articles of everyday use, and jade were also on display. Of interest, tea was also discovered, showing that tea was consumed even at this early date.

Life-size horses and chariots
Clothes similar to what the figures would have worn

Figures with and without clothing
Figures with expressive arms and one still encrusted
We had to move rather quickly through the museum in order to return in time for the cultural performance and speeches being held outdoors for the event. I think it would be fascinating to return during the day when actual excavation is occurring and to also see more of the expansive site. Although it receives far fewer visitors than its famous big brother, the Hanyangling Museum is quite remarkable. In fact, it is considered the most intact royal mausoleum of the Western Han Dynasty, giving excellent research data for the burial customs of the day. It is a testament to the remarkable lengths the emperors took to ensure they were ready to rule in the parallel world of the afterlife.

Wild Goose Pagoda in autumn #autumn #unescoworldheritage #through_the_travel_lens #igworld_global #unesco #buddhism #xian #pagoda #chinatravel #chinagram

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Artwork: Burnished Bronze and Faded Wood, Bongeunsa

My latest artwork, a color pencil drawing of a Buddhist temple door in Seoul, South Korea.

Burnished Bronze and Faded Wood, Bongeunsa
Color Pencil. Seoul, South Korea
©2018 Melissa Enderle

See more of my artwork on Facebook or my website.