Well today we visited the Terra-cotta Warriors Museum. Words cannot describe what we saw. Yes, Viking is the only cruise lines to travel with to China. We arrived at the museum one hour before it opened. Now this is important when you figure that the museum gets 20,000 visitors a day. Once the crowd moved in, it was wall to wall people. The Terra-cotta Warriors were discovered in 1974 by a Chinese farmer and his friends who were digging a well. It had lain buried for 2,000 years. It was sheer luck that he found it because he just hit Emperor Qin’s tomb by inches. Yang, the only living farmer now, sits in the museum and autographs the book about his find.
When President Clinton visited the museum, the museum wanted to teach Yang some English. He didn’t think he could manage, but they insisted and told him he only needed to learn five words. They are “How are you? --- Me too!” Because you always ask someone when meeting them, “How are you?” They say, “Fine.” And then you say, “Me too!” Well, Yang was so nervous that when he met Pres. Clinton, Yang said, “Who are you?” Pres. Clinton said, “Hillary’s husband.” So, did you guess Yang’s answer back, “Me too!” Then when Bill Clinton was given the book about the discovery of the Terra-cotta Warriors, he asked Yang to sign. Yang said, “No” and everyone was shocked. It turned out that Yang couldn’t write. He now signs his name beautifully, and he signed our book purchased from the museum. Our guide warned us that we needed to get our book signed and photos early. We noticed Yang getting very cranky as we were leaving and refusing photos, but I guess you are allowed to do that when you are 82 years old.
Three of the farmers at first did not want to report their find to the government because the government would take their land, but Yang felt it was right. They had found one of the heads of the warriors. He turned it over to the government and almost immediately archeologists from around the world descended upon Xi’an. The Communist government paid each farmer $5. When Yang realized that this was something exceedingly special, people even call it the Eighth Wonder of the World, Yang wanted more money. The government at first declined, the government in China owns the land. Finally today, he is paid a small salary from the museum and people pay him to have their photo taken with him. I now have my photo with the only living farmer who found the warriors.
There are currently 2,000 restored warriors of the more than 8,000 life size Terra-cotta Warriors that were buried with the emperor, along with two bronze chariots. The bronze horses have jade bridles. Each warrior is different and the details on their uniforms, even facial expressions are amazing. Details, such as different heights, hair pieces, armor, scarves, shoes, even down to the fact, that you can tell the age of some of the warriors by the length of their mustache. You started growing your mustache when you were eighteen. You can tell the difference between the generals, standing archers, kneeling archers, middle officers, horseman, and charioteers. Originally, these warriors where painted. Today, archeologists continue to find artifacts by use of x-ray. Emperor’s Qin’s tomb covers 21 square miles. It is the largest tomb known in the world. Archeologists feel they have only begun this excavation.
This Terra-cotta Warriors Museum will be an amazing place for repeat visits by anyone fascinated with history. The Terra-cotta hospital, where they are painstakingly putting, warriors back together, shows the intense love of the archeologists to repair the warriors damaged during the overthrow of Qin Dynasty. Astounding, that this one psychopathic individual, who only ruled for a very short period of time, had such an impact on tourism, because he also built the Great Wall. He was so hung up on his afterlife that he killed all 720,000 people who worked his tomb. They know these people were buried alive because when they found the skeletons, they are in positions that show them desperately trying to climb out of their death trap.
We then left for the airport and flew to Beijing, the pollution gods must have been smiling upon us because they had heavy winds in Beijing the day before blowing most of the pollution away. We actually saw the sun and blue sky on the drive from the airport to the hotel. We also saw the worst traffic we have ever encountered. The driving here is really crazy. This morning we are leaving the hotel early to go to the Great Wall so we can beat the crowds
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.Robert Louis Stevenson
Confucius say – Things that are done, it is needless to speak about…things that are past, it is needless to blame.
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Tom & Holly