Way to the army

Xi’an? Terracotta army? Yes! This is the place but, after two days I didn’t visit it yet. Now is time to go for it.
First useful information to give to who wants to go there, is that the site hosting the warriors is not in Xi’an but in the nearby Lintong district, about 50 kilometres away from center of the town. Beside the obvious organised tours that I take in consideration very rarely, a good way to reach the site is taking a bus close to northern railway station. Number 306 or 307 will do the job and, if you’re confused and you don’t know where to catch it, well… the sign that you may see in the picture, at first sight, will make you maybe even more confused but in the end is helpful. Just please check the horizontal sign, because the vertical with cartoons is the one for toilet…
In the end I catch the bus and it is quite comfortable. There is even a kind of hostess and she’s also quite pretty. One hour of trip and I reach the big site where I will finally see the army.

Free thoughts on the army, this army…

One of the thing that fascinates me of the army is not related to its origin but to its discovery. This is nowadays among the most visited site in the world (in the top five, for sure. Likely 4th) with more than 4 millions visitors every year but, when I was born (I won’t say when…) none knew about its existence because it hasn’t been discovered yet. Yes, because terracotta army was discovered in 1974 by farmers in search of water. They were digging a well and they found life-sized statues and artefacts. After one year, already 500 warriors were dig out. Now they’re more than 8.000 plus horses, chariots and more. In some part of the pavilions where the warriors are displayed, there is some kind of reconstruction of how the statues were when they were excavated. It’s just me, but these warriors getting out from the soil (see the picture) made me think about some picture of the judgement day with bodies resurrecting and from this image, a quick and raving association of ideas move my thoughts to Philip Dick’s Counter-Clock world where time and event started to go backward and death people were reviving. Is there any other blog where you start reading about terracotta army and finish reading about science fiction? But well… if you’re here you want to know about the site… wait 🙂 … It is coming…

The history of the army and its site

So, why they built all these statues? What do they represent? The army was made following a request of the emperor Qin Shi Huang, first one of Qin dynasty, the initiator of the great wall, the leader that unified China and, very likely, gave it also the name (Qin in mandarin is pronounced Chin). So, quite an important character in the history. Pretty normal that his tomb was extraordinary so, he decided that in the other world he should be escorted by the same army of his conquests. The statues are located in different pits, grouped by category. At the time of my visit (July 2017) not all pits were open. However, pit number 1, containing the large majority of the warriors (about 6.000) was open. The light in those pavilion enclosing the pit is a bit cold. The army can be seen from the track that runs all around the pit and this give the possibility of having an unobstructed view on the sculptures. There is the chance to rent an audioguide but, as in most of the cases, I don’t take one because it would force me to follow defined path and times. One of the most impressing fact is that all the warriors are different one from the other one. The faces and the postures are various. The only thing that seems to be the same for most of them is the funny hat that it reminds me of a Georgian kinkhali, the delicious dumplings. I liked the most, pit number 2, because of the many chariots and horse statues, because smaller and probably also because a better light. There is another interesting fact about the army. According some archaeologist, it is possible that the style of the statues was influenced by contacts with hellenistic culture. Life-size statues were not present before the army while they were common in ancient Greece and, also, this is theory is based on some genetic finding on the region. Globalization ante-litteram.

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