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China Day 16 - Terra Cotta Army

Added: November 05, 2009

Tags: China photos
We are going to visit only one place on Tuesday 21st of July. It is Terra Cotta Army near Xian. After that we are flying to Shanghai in the evening.

In case you've just come from Mars and never heard about it, it is afterlife army for First Emperor of Qin. It consists from several thousands of life size figures. There are archers, bowmen, cavalry, horses, chariots and more. Every figure was unique. From those thousands only one was found intact. All others were broken during rebellion (and its consequences) a few years after burial of Emperor.

In the factory

Our first stop was in the factory where souvenirs and also life size replicas of army men are manufactured. It was interesting to see, we learned that all figures were composed from exchangeable parts so that it was possible to use the same body (rank, costume and pose) with different hands, heads and legs.

Regarding process they told us parts of big figures are 2 days in the form, then taken out to dry for 2-4 weeks and then they are baked up to 2 days.



They also create custom versions, just provide a few photos of your head and adequate lump of money and wait for a few weeks to see the result.

These are finished pieces. In case we were looking for some decoration into our garden and dwarf seemed too small we were encouraged to give a try to terra cotta soldier. Price for big one was about 1300GBP.

The museum

The areal around the place is huge. Also buildings covering 3 pits were huge.



Johnson & Johnson version of terra cotta warrior.
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These two are coming from different place, but I do not remember from where.


The Pit 1

The biggest pit and the first one found is Pit 1. It is inside huge building these days, but originally it was a grass field (obviously). It was terribly hot inside.

Only part of it is excavated as the rest is waiting until better preservation techniques are found. All warriors, officers and horses were originally painted, but after excavation they discoloured quickly. Plus it is huge puzzle to put them together so there is plenty of work with already excavated pieces.

We went around with Rich. He told us where discovery was made while local farmers tried to dig a well. It was at the side, if they dug 2m off they would not discover anything! Then he shown us interesting figures and last specks of colour at some figures.




The guy at the bottom is called Noodle Boy.





Sometimes it is distressful view.

The Pit 2

We were exploring Pits 2 and 3 alone. Pit 2 was smaller, less excavated and much darker. But it was easier to see where beams forming the roof were before rebels set the pit on fire.

After short time in Pit 2 I have noticed that many long exposures are causing a few hot pixels. Fortunately DXO can fix them without any intervention.



The figure on the right is the only complete warrior found - kneeling archer.
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Notice how detailed it is. Look at the sole of his right shoe.



The Pit 3

The smallest pit, only 68 figures were there. It was supposedly headquarters of whole army.



Flight to Shanghai

Terra cotta army is really the 8th world wonder. I could spend there more time, but I cannot imagine working there :-)

When we finished our visit we went to airport and flew to Shanghai. Whole flight was uneventful, apart from that Barbara found in newspaper an article with scary title Meteorologists say Eclipse in Shanghai is improbable due to rain.