On February 19th we visited the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, better known as the home of the Terra Cotta Warriors. This amazing place has now been named one of the "Pre-1900 Wonders of the World", and I can see why! The size and scope of this is beyond anything I could have imagined.
First, a little history - From the website History.com
Qin Shi Huang, founder of the Qin dynasty, ruled a unified China as it's first emperor until 207 B.C. Among the many massive building projects he ordered during his reign was the earliest version of China's Great Wall, which ran along the country's northern border and was designed to protect against barbarian invasions. But Emperor Qin's most memorable project was the massive mausoleum complex he had constructed for himself near the ancient city Xi'an.
Interesting Fact: Qin Shi Huang's Burial complex was the largest in the word - and was probably never completed.
Farmers digging a well 20 miles outside of Xi'an stumbled upon a pit containing 6,000 life-size statues in March of 1974. Historians now believe some 700,000 workers worked for nearly 3 decades on the mausoleum. So far they have uncovered a 20 square mile compound, including 8,000 terra cotta soldiers, horses and chariots, and a pyramid mound marking the emperors tomb, a palace, offices, store houses and stables.
The complex where is huge and this is only a small portion of it. The Structure in front of us house Pit # 1.
Our first stop was the museum.
Interesting Fact: These life size sculptures were originally painted in bright colors. I didn't know that.
This is a kneeling archer.
Interesting Fact: They have pictures of the thousands of faces on the soldiers. No two faces are alike, which makes sense since they were all made or carved into the clay by hand.
They are working daily on how to preserve the colors.
Below they have painted what they thought the soldiers looked like.
This is an acrobat that was found.
The details you see on these soldiers is amazing.
The army of life-size terra cotta soldiers, archers, horses and chariots, was stationed in military formation near Emperor Qin's tomb in order to protect the emperor in the afterlife.
Interesting Fact: The rows you see on the top of the dirt are wooden beams. They are covering rows of more soldiers.
Up close, you can see the size of the sculptures.
And the detail.
This is the most famous pit. A couple of things to know. They are still doing excavating and preserving in the pits that are already open. The soldiers still under the beams and dirt are not currently being excavated because they are working on a way to preserve them in better condition and keep the color on them.
Darryl with Robyn and Eric King of Idaho Falls.
Interesting fact: When they find a soldier with color they treat him with something and cover him with plastic wrap for a period of time to preserve the color.
Interesting fact: They have never found a soldier or other figure completely intact. Some are in pretty good shape with only a few missing pieces to be found and put back to in place, others are like this guy and, like a jigsaw puzzle, they have to carefully piece him back together.
Putting them back together...
Some of the colors on this soldier have been preserved.
If I was the kind of person to have a bucket list, Xi'an and the Terra Cotta Warriors would definitely have been on it. Darryl and I feel so privileged that I was able to see this "Wonder of the World" in person.