Imperial China, The Yangtze River & Tibet
May, 2007 an OAT Tour

Imperial China - The Terra Cotta Warriors

The Terra cotta Army guards the tomb of Qin Shi, the first Chinese emperor, a major architect of the Great Wall and unifier of China.

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Cave Homes

On the way to see the terra cotta warriors we stopped off to see a family which lives partially in a cave home. The caves were dug into the sandstone cliff and the house built in front of it.

Hauling wheat to the farm      The exterior of the home

The back of the house is in a cave      Comfortable, climate controlled bedroom inside the cave

Mother with her young daughter live in this home      Before going to the tomb we have lunch with home made noodles

Imperial China - The Terra Cotta Warriors of Qin Shi

The tomb of China's first Emperor has been known for some time but it has not been excavated because the officials are not sure of how to do it. Historical sources indicate the tomb portrays a miniature plan of the empire with the floor cut by rivers and a lake of mercury beneath a ceiling studded with pearls to represent the night sky. The Emperor's concubines were buried alive. Chemical tests in the area rarify the presence of toxic chemicals. It was a surprise, however, when two peasants were digging a well in 1974 they came upon the terra cotta army.

The terra cotta army, containing over 7,000 life size soldiers, archers, calvary and horses were made to guard the tomb of Qin Shi, a despotic ruler who unified China over 2,200 years ago. Each warrior, originally colored and holding a sward, spear, or bows and arrows, has an individually crafted expression - maybe taken from the 700,000 peasants who were put to work over 36 years to build the tomb. When the tomb was completed the workers were also all put to death to prevent the location and design of the tomb from becoming known

After Qin Shi died his heir continued his despotic practices and the peasants revolted. A revolution needs weapons and someone knew about the buried warriors. The tombs were broken into and the weapons stolen. Some clay figures were knocked over and broken. The earthen roof to the army was supported by wooden poles which where set on fire and as they burned the roof collapsed causing more damage. Naturally the revolution was not successful but everyone forgot about the warriors until they were re discovered over 2,000 years later.

Large statue to China's first Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi      Enterance to the Tarra cotta warriors

Fran surveys the historic find      In columns of 4 the infantry waits.

Horses for the calvary     2

3      Broken warriors waiting to be repaired

The entire area is covered for protection.       High ranking officer (notice the hat) holds the rains to the horses

4      Restored warriors line up in back

5      6

Originally all the warriors were painted      Knocked down and broken by revolting peasants

A monumental task to painstakingly restore each warrior      You can purchase a replica and have it shipped home

A Jade Factory

Jade has been carved and polished by the Chinese for several thousand years. While most people think of jade as green it can be brown, black or a prized cloudy white. One piece may be several colors and the artisan shows his skill by incorporating the color into the design (see the mushrooms below). To the Chinese jade symbolizes longevity and purity and is worn to ward off disease. It didn't work in 2002 when the SARS epidemic caused us to cancel an earlier trip to China.

Jade is hand scultured by artisans     

      Cloudy white mushrooms on a black log - all one piece of jade

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This page was created by Bob "Belli" Frazee

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