Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First Day in Xi'an (7/19/2011)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The view of the Bell Tower from our Bell Tower Hotel:
Took the local buses to get to the Terracotta Warriors Museum. Outside, they were selling fur pelts:
In the Museum, there is a replica of the first chariot and horses, with gold and silver bridles:
 The Emperor's (his spirit's) chariot is the real thing they excavated:
First we went to Pit 3, the smallest of the pits, to see the Officer's Meeting Room:
And the chariot team ready to deliver the orders:
Next we visited Pit 2, which is largely unexcavated:
Thousands of warriors still lie under that wavy dirt, waiting for technology to allow excavation where the painted colors will not immediately oxidize:
At Pit 2 they showed examples of each type of warrior found. The kneeling archer:
His wooden bow has since disintegrated. We were to note the detail, such as the tread on the shoes:
This was a Middle-ranking Officer, with only front armor:
A general:
A Cavalryman and his horse:
A standing archer:
The standing archer's pose gave him the nickname of "Tai Qi Warrior:"
This is what the warriors looked like when excavated, a jumbled mess of puzzle pieces:
Finally we reached the biggest of them all, Pit 1:
This building can hold two football fields:
The warriors, as they are repaired, are lined up in battle formation. They were made to protect the Emperor in the afterlife. Emperor Qin Shi Huang is known as the First Emperor because he united all the kingdoms of China. Xi'an was his capital, and he began building the mausoleum a year after ascending the throne at age 13 in 246 BCE. It took 38 years to build using 70,000 conscripts. However, the location of his burial site was unknown.
In 1974, a farmer digging a well came upon some pottery shards, and knowing this was a significant find, he alerted the authorities. The mausoleum covers an area up to 1.5km/nearly a mile from the actual burial mound, and more is being discovered, such as acrobats, musicians, civil officials, and weapons.
The horses pulling the chariots are there, but the chariots are missing:
What is amazing is not only the sheer number of warriors (estimated at over 5,000), but that they are life-size and are individual. They each have a different face, as well as body type and height.
The vanguard in position at the front:
The bodies and heads were made separately:
The rings on the back hold the sword:
The hole was a farmer's grave, built on top without discovering what lay underneath:
Leftover bricks from a tomb could not be used for other purposes, so were piled on top:
A drain cover on the brick paved path:
Active archeological dig (just not today):
The warriors being worked on:
The building over Pit 1:
We were talked into getting a guide for the Terracotta Warriors, who claimed she would give us a tour for 100RMB when the going price was 150RMB. We are actually glad we did, because she was able to quickly lead us to the Pits in the order we wanted to see them, and she told us about a faster bus to take back too the city.
After getting off the bus, we walked unde the city wall:
the North Railway Station:
Back at the hotel after lunch at the mall, with the Bell Tower:
Built in 1384 and moved to this location in 1582. It is located where North, East, South, and West Roads meet.
The hotel:
Hotel room:
Left later, and the sun was weakly breaking through the haze:
The Drum Tower:
Built in 1380. Where as the bell was struck at dawn, the drum was beaten at sunset.
Beiyuan Lu, a shopping street:
Having fun with the sculptures:
Huajue Xiang/Lane is the location of the Muslim Night Market:
With lamb and rounds of bread.
Street eateries:
The Great Mosque:
It is the largest and one of the first mosques in China.
Carved stone screen:
A minaret:
Dried Chinese red dates/Jujubes:
The Bell Tower at night:

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