The Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an

5th August 2004.

One of the 300 contestants for the "Eighth Wonder of the World" the Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin are pretty slick. They are over 2000 years old and took 4 decades to build by 720,000 people. Emperor Qin wanted the 6000 figures to surround his tomb. He thought that they would serve as a vigilant force to protect him once he was dead.

The first underground vault makes you realise how television struggles to demonstrate the scale of this awesome place.

Once we could fight our way through the Chinese tourists taking pictures of themselves by the soldiers, we could see the enormity of the place....

... and the amazing detail. In their day each figure was hand painted and then put under ground as if they were ready for battle. Each figure also held typical weapons of their day.  These are not in public view.

So far they have only excavated three tombs.  The tombs were positioned 5 metres underground and covered with mats and dirt. They were found by accident in 1974 when peasants were digging a well.

Each figure has an individual look, different facial expressions and role in the battle procession.

Broken warriors fill most of the vault as the excavation is proceeding at a painfully slow rate.

It is said to take one archeologist, one year to restore a single warrior.

... as you can see the super-glue comes in very handy to put these things back together.

Most Warriors are thought to have been broken after Chinese Peasants rose-up again and smashed and torched the tomb.... in a manner reminiscent of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

This chap is obviously positioned slightly to far to the left of his mount!

It is quite interesting watching the Chinese tourists get up close to these figures.  Despite the stickers telling them to not put their mucky hands over the glass they push each other out of the way to see where other mucky hands have been.

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