Our 2010 China Trip
Page 4

On day 8 of our trip we arrived by overnight train at Xian: Home of the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Before going to see the warriors, we visited a Jade Factory. We learned about the different types of jade and how they were valued. We also saw an exhibit of jade carvings. The guy in the left picture is one piece of jade carved into a full sized warrior. The fellow in the right picture is was also carved from one piece of two colored jade - dark green and white. The carver managed to carve the face and hands in the white area and the rest in the dark area. "Vely clever, these Chinese."

I made a big purchase at the Jade Factory. A small ring of jade. The ring represents "endless love". It's tied to a woven silk string. The Chinese dont have wedding rings like "westerners" They give their brides a ring like this or a jade bracelet. Joan, our guide had one of each that she wore all the time.

We were next bussed out of town (Xian) to the site of the Terra Cotta Warriors. They are located in "pits" that are covered by huge buildings in a beautiful park. Mary Ann is standing on the stairs of Pit 3. To her right is Pit 1 (the building with the arched roof) and Pit 2 (the square building above her hat)..

This is what you see when you enter Pit 1: Trenches deep in the ground containing an army of hundreds of Terra Cotta Warriors. They were cast during the reign of Emperor Qin Wang Ziying during the Qin Dynasty around 200BC. He's the emperor who unified China, standardized writing and currency, and restored and rebuilt much of The Great Wall. A busy guy indeed!

Each trench was filled with the warriors holding their weapons and roofed over with logs, thatched mats, and about 10 feet of earth.

In the years following the burial of the army vandals and thieves entered the covered trenches, stole all the weapons and burned the log roofs. Time passed and the weight of the earth collapsed the roofs and crushed the warriors. What you see here are the warriors that have been reassembled from bits and pieces of terra cotta.

Here is another view of Pit 1. You can see the depth of the soil covering the trenches. Some was filled by the original builders and some was from natural accumulations over the past 2 centuries. The farmers found the warriors in a well being dug in the upper right near where the 3 people are standing. You can also get an idea of the size of the army (~7000 found - so far) and number of trenches that were dug.

This is a picture of part of the warrior reconstruction area. You can imagine what a tedious and time consuming job it is to "reassemble" the warriors. There are years of work here.

I guess we've seen enough of the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Not far from the 3 Pits is a man made "mountain" containing the tomb of Emperor Qin. The mountain is as high as the Great Pyramid in Egypt and covers a huge area. It has been probed, but it has not yet been excavated. Archaeologists are waiting until new technologies can assist with the job.

The trees in the foreground are pomegranate trees. The white things are plastic bags to protect the fruit.

On our way back to downtown Xian we stopped at an herbal market. This is where druggists would go to buy the ingredients for their herbal medicines. There are all sorts of dried things here and it smelled quite nice. These pictures show sacks of herbs, seeds, animal organs (including a dried dog penis and dried snake), and dried cicadas. Drying the herbs was a simple outdoor chore.

Do you suppose that this Wal Mart in down town Xian is filled with stuff labeled "Made in the USA"?

In the evening after visiting the Warriors we went to "The Sunshine Grand Dinner Theater" for a dinner of Chinese dumplings and a stage show. We were served dumplings in traditional round steamer baskets plus other dishes. The tiny dumplings were shaped to indicate the filling: Duck, pork, nut meat, fish, etc.. They were neat, tasty, and easily held with chopsticks.

The show was a dazzling display of colorful costumes and swirly dance accompanied by loud, but well played, western style orchestral music.

At the end of the show the Emperor and Empress (or a Concubine) made an appearance, Quite impressive!

So ended our exciting 8th day of our tour of China.

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