Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Visit to the Terra Cotta Warrior Museum - Part One

On the first day of my Chinese New Year break, I decided to go to the famed Terra Cotta Warriors Museum. I had waited to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site in winter, hoping that fewer people would be visiting. Having lived in various Asian countries for nine years, I knew that getting there early would be advantageous. Due to the southerly location of my apartment, I decided to take a DiDi (China's version of Über) directly to the museum. My pre-arranged DiDi driver arrived about 15 minutes early to pick me up, but I didn't complain; it was much better than being late. Daylight had just broken by the time we arrived at the museum, located 53 km from my apartment. Although the ride cost me around $25, it was worth the hassle-free experience and time saved.
Ticket entrance to the Museum

The place was virtually deserted. After about 20 minutes, the ticket lines opened up. I was one of the first in line to pay my 120 RMB ($17.86) ticket. I was ready to see what is considered the Eighth Wonder of the World and the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century.
Pit One ahead. No crowds!
Knowing that the crowds would come, I headed directly to Pit One. By far the largest building at over 14,260 sq meters, Pit One housed over 8,000 warriors, infantry, horses, cavalry, and officers and over 50 chariots.
Overview of Pit One
Arriving early had paid off. I was the first one inside and had it to myself for over five minutes. Standing in front of me were over 2,000 excavated figures to protect the emperor in death. Over 700,000 workers contributed to the building project that took 38 years to complete. (Side note: many of the workers' bodies were found in mass graves within the massive complex).

Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Even though the Qin dynasty was rather short (221-206 BC), it was quite amazing that so much of his legacy lives on. Emperor Qin Shi Huang succeeded in unifying a series of warring states to form the precursor to modern China. Other accomplishments: initiating the Great Wall, standardizing weights and currency, and evolving the written language into contemporary Chinese script. 
Three-line vanguard
Standing at the front was a three-line vanguard of 204 troop members. Imagine how imposing they would have looked with weapons in-hand! 

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