In 1974 a farmer, Mr Young, digging for water came across an underground vault which became the discovery of the ‘Army of Terracotta Warriors’. On our arrival at the site we were fortunate enough to meet an elderly Mr Young who has been given a job by the government, along with lots of land, apartments and infamy. We duly bought his book and he signed it along with a few others that day, and every other day.
Why the army was built is not exactly certain, either Emperor Qin Shi Huang thought he needed the army to protect him after his death or he thought he could carry on ruling from beyond the grave. The good news at the time unless you were one of the tens of thousands of slaves making the army, was that prior to the terracotta versions the usual way of protecting yourself was to bury alive all your private guards in your tomb. Some people got lucky.
The whole place is still one big archelogical dig site and in the main number 1 pit they think 6000 soldiers are there, only about 2000 are visible. It is a huge, stunning place. Every single soldier and horse is different, and they even can tell which part of China they are from. Pretty much all of the soldiers are rebuilt from broken pieces due to them being damaged by a fire which destroyed the wooden roof by an uprising a thousand or so years ago. The soldiers are arranged in battle formation and in pit 1 they are the foot soldiers and archers, in pit 2 and 3 they are progressively more senior.
The magnitude of the pits can not truly be appreciated unless visited and there are believed to be over 600 pits, and countless tombs most of which are unopened.
After the warriors we visited the mosque in the muslim area of Xi’an which was very interesting least because we were allowed entry. Even more surprising was that it was in the style of a buddist temple. The randomness continues as does Paul’s inner jeff, he was fascinated by the old school joists in the roof that required no nails!
What a fantastic experience, albeit a cold one! Hope you’ve warmed up. Xx