Xi’an is a beautiful city that still has a wall around the inner most part. We stayed just inside said wall and as a treat, spent two hours cycling the wall and exploring the lookouts. It also has an interesting drum and bell tower that gets lit up at night and a huge towering pagoda, called the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
All these we managed to explore and take in during our short stay in Xi’an, but the best part was obviously the ancient lost army. That’s why we came, after all.
The great Terracota Army was the late crazy emperor Qin Shi Huang’s brainchild, meant to protect him and his descendants in the afterlife.
It’s probably because he knew he was being a total brute to his people. Anyway, he was also very clever, but such is the way with crazies most of the time. He combined the Great Wall, created standards and systems and just to conform to his crazy side also buried alive, in excess of seven hundred thousand people who helped to build his army and tomb.
This obviously royally pissed off the people, because it was their family and friends. His logic was sound for a loony, because he only used criminals and people who were in debt, so they had to pay their debt somehow. No, I’m not supporting his logic just that there was some. However, when his line died, the village folk wanted to destroy all traces and memories of his loon behavior and burned and destroyed a great many of the terracota statues. They also didn’t talk about him or his work and subsequently all record, legend or story died leaving him, his army and tomb forgotten for centuries.
The discovery is well documented and I’m not inclined to regurgitate that, but I do have to mention that the farmer who dug the well that led to the discovery, is still alive and kicking.
So the statues are quite an amazing site, I’ll admit, but more than the grandeur, it has to be admired for the great skill it took to produce these clay soldiers. Each have their own unique face and hairstyle wearing uniforms that fit their rank. The detail was not only reserved for the men, as even the horses have distinctly different tails indicating that they are from different regions. It’s reported that the remainder of the statues will only be excavated once they have the technology to preserve the paint that covers the statues.
The emperor’s tomb is also a story for nightmares because he has a river of mercury surrounding the rotting corpses and what is imagined to be great treasure and artifacts. So that is also untouched until it can be safely brought into the light.
It is said that the tomb was strategically placed beside the hill to steer people off the real location of the tomb. The hill has been withered down to a third of its original height due to people digging to find the tomb and treasure which they believed were underneath the hill.