Have you ever waited years for a wish to come true?
In this world of instant gratification it doesn’t seem to happen that often anymore. And yet when it does, after such a long time, my appreciation seems to reach an unparalleled value… well, at least for a while!
My travel bucket list is pretty extensive but ever since hearing about the entombed terracotta warriors discovery while I was studying art back in my tertiary ed days, I had wanted to see them ‘en masse’, up close and personal. Yes, just like Mr Attenborough studying his obsession, I had my own natural curiosity to explore these unique objects within their natural habitat.. and so my objective was always to one day travel to Xi’an in Shaanxi Province, China and visit the Terracotta Warrior Museum.On my Travel Bucket List it was listed right between
24. Visiting Uluru at midday, dusk and dawn
26. Enjoying Oktoberfest from midday, past dusk until dawn.
I still have to tick off 24 but yesterday I was lucky enough to tick off 25. See the Terracotta Warriors at Xi’an accompanied by my very knowledgeable, young, local guide Maggie. She was wonderful!
Advertisement: if you ever need a great guide on your next visit then let me put you in contact with her.
What did I think?
It still amazes me sometimes how all my acquired art appreciation skills can desert me and instead my instincts for the mundane shines magnificently through clear as dawn to dusk.
I’m not sure what I was expecting but it surely wasn’t the aircraft carrier size hanger like building that covers each pit full of warriors. Makes sense I guess but for some reason I mundanely thought it would all be outdoors.
I’m guessing it was worked out pretty quickly that tourist numbers drop off on wet days. Today however was just cold inside and the dust from the diggings hung noticeably in the air.. but I did notice it was less dense than whatever was hanging in the air outside.
Maggie gave me all the stats on numbers, size, weights, years and then put it in context by explaining it was from the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) who had commissioned.. or just encouraged.. artists and local ceramicists to produce with crafted detail these 8000 more than life size individual figures weighing between 100-300 kg each, to be buried alongside him… along with his concubines, wives that hadn’t given children yet and various other lucky courtiers chosen to help him out in his next lifetime. Oh the joys of calling an emperor ‘best mate’!
I wandered around the three huge covered pit areas trying to take it all in; the way the jigsaw pieces were found when dug up; how they had been lovingly restored and proudly displayed; the painted colours; methods; rankings; horses; bronze castings and adornments.
My brain buzzed with an overload of creative and statistical info… ….and so I did what all good tourists do in front of one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century, UNESCO listed world cultural heritage site and one of my own personal obsessions…
I took a bad selfie!
Needing a break, we wandered off to enjoy lunch followed by a tourist tea ceremony,
a visit to the Banpo Neolithic museum showing a matriarchal cleverly run local society more than 6000 years ago. Yep, we’ve been running things well forever ladies!
And finally, I finished my day on a high note of kulcha with a last minute whim booking for dinner at ‘a very special only in Xi’an’ dumpling banquet and spectacular show of costumed singing, twirling, whirling, dancers, musicians and assorted performers on an ever changing cherry blossomed stage.
It was a full day of memorable touristy experiences… tick, tick, tick and tick.
But my appreciation for the warriors is still what’s keeping me warm today.
I am currently writing this as I enjoy my bucket list #67 Ride a bullet train anytime of day. Yes, I’m heading to Beijing, a super city with a population approximately the same size as Australia!