There has been a serious lack of blogging over the past 2 wks as Blogspot has been GFWed (Great Fire Walled)! I suspect this is due to the upcoming June 4th anniversary.
I am now only able to get around the GFW and write this cause of a proxy site I discovered. I feel like a prisoner who has managed to find a small mouse hole in the prison wall....just enough to drop this msg.
Anyway, hope things are good outside the GFW and will try to write as much as possible b4 the GFW police discover the hole!
Made a weekend trip to China's ancient capital of Xi‘an 西安 back in April. Xi’an is actually a large city of 8 million+ people, more than HK. Of course the most famous thing in this city is the massive tomb of Emperor Qin 秦始皇 - the first Emperor of China and the life-size terra-cotta army 兵马俑 guarding it.
Upon entering the tomb area, we are greeted by a sign proclaiming the tomb to be the 8th Wonder of the World. At first I thought no way this can compare....but after seeing the sheer scale of the tomb, I believe it is worthy of debate.
Only an absolute dictator could have ordered such a massive necropolis built (50 square km!!!???). At present, 4 pits have been unearthed, filled with an estimated 6,000 terra-cotta soldiers. But there are still many pits that have yet to be unearthed, the most important being the Emperor's tomb itself which is said to have rivers of mercury running through it and gemstones inset in the celing as the stars.
In addition to the sheer number of warriors, the level of detail on each is amazing. Here you can see intricate hairstyle of this one. Each worrior had unique facial features, hair-style, armor and weapons. They were even painted in full color but due to oxidation, the color on these have faded.
Here is a higher ranking general, you can see that his hands were specially carved with the index finger pointing as if in signal to the army under his command. His hands originally rested on the pommel of a sword that had probably been looted.
Our guide said that there are about 50 full time archeologists working on restoration of the warriors. Each piece must be painstakenly examined and fitted together, the ultimate jigsaw puzzle.
No small detail was spared, even the horses are strikingly life-like, as if poised to gallop into battle.
The tomb is definately a must see in Xi'an. I hope to come back here in another 30 years. By then, how many other pits will have been unearthed? With new technology, will we see an army regiment preserved in full color? Will the mystery of what is contained in Emperor Qin's tomb finally be solved?