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WheresCherie.COM Quote
"Not all who wander are lost." -- J.R.R. Tolkien

304--China: Xian--the Terra-Cotta Warriors
@ CherieSpotting     Jul 15 2005 - 14:45 PST
cherie writes: Flashback December 2004
The 3100 year-old city of Xian, which has watched 13 dynasties come and go, attracted the attention of the world when a farmer found something odd while he was digging a well in 1974.

Later historians confirmed that the farmer discovered the most prized archeological find of the 20th century—the Terra-Cotta Warriors. Over 7000 warriors, horses, chariots and weapons have been resurrected from the pits of Xian’s excavation. The find of the century turned out to be Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb.

Arranged in battle formations, the warriors were buried with Qin Shi Huang to protect him after death. His tomb was extravagant and included rivers of mercury and a pearl encrusted ceiling. With the gems twinkling above his body, Qin Shi Huang made sure he could forever gaze at the night sky. The mausoleum is right out of an Indian Jones’s flick, complete with shooting-arrow booby-traps! Qin Shi Huang’s son made sure the emperor was buried with all his concubines—at least the ones that weren’t pregnant.

My friend Scott and I met the auspicious Chinese farmer! Too bad we couldn’t speak Mandarin and get his story first-hand.

Emperor Qin Shi Huang took the throne at 13 and did what most teenage boys would never think of—started building his own mausoleum. 720,000 Chinese labored on Huang’s tomb and it took 39 years to complete. Each of the Terre-Cotta warriors is life-sized and was built with a unique facial expression. The imperial army that lay buried for over 2000 years consists of chariot warriors, infantry, cavalry, generals, officers, soldiers, as well as armored and kneeling fighters.

Xian is nestled in the Yellow River Basin in China’s Shaanxi province. Historians consider Xian one of the 4 major ancient civilizations of the world (along with Rome, Athens and Cairo). Larger than the greatest pyramid in Egypt, Qin Shi Huang’s tomb is located on Lishan Hill overlooking the Wei River.

Qin Shi Huang name was actually Ying Zheng, which proves that even 2000 years before Hollywood people changed their names. The name Qin Shi Huang means “first emperor”, which Ying Zheng called himself because he united (or conquered) the six previous warring states of Chine—Han. Zhao, Wei, Chu, Yan and Qi. (If you haven’t watched the movie “Hero”, see it—it’s one of my favorites.) It is a feast for the eyes and tells the story of the emperor’s struggle to unite China and the assassins who tried to prevent it.

Excavation is still underway; the actual tomb has still not been opened. As Neil Armstrong said: “Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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My good friend Scott and I go back in time 2250 years to see what life was like living in the Qin dynasty.

My good friend Scott and I go back in time 2250 years to see what life was like living in the Qin dynasty.

A grand view of one of the Terra-Cotta warrior pits.

A grand view of one of the Terra-Cotta warrior pits.

Over 7000 warriors, horses, chariots and weapons have been resurrected from the pits of Xian’s excavation.

Over 7000 warriors, horses, chariots and weapons have been resurrected from the pits of Xian’s excavation.

Each of the Terre-Cotta warriors is life-sized and was built with a unique facial expression.

Each of the Terre-Cotta warriors is life-sized and was built with a unique facial expression.

Cherie with the the most prized archeological find of the 20th century.

Cherie with the the most prized archeological find of the 20th century.

The imperial army that lay buried for over 2000 years consists of chariot warriors, infantry, cavalry, generals, officers, soldiers, as well as armored and kneeling fighters.

The imperial army that lay buried for over 2000 years consists of chariot warriors, infantry, cavalry, generals, officers, soldiers, as well as armored and kneeling fighters.

Have you lost your mind?

Have you lost your mind?

Scott almost loses his head!

Scott almost loses his head!

Excavation is still underway in Xian; the actual tomb has still not been opened.

Excavation is still underway in Xian; the actual tomb has still not been opened.

Scott admires the tomb that took 720,000 Chinese laborers 39 years to complete.

Scott admires the tomb that took 720,000 Chinese laborers 39 years to complete.

Emperor Qin Shi Huang took the throne at 13 and did what most teenage boys would never think of—started building his own mausoleum.

Emperor Qin Shi Huang took the throne at 13 and did what most teenage boys would never think of—started building his own mausoleum.

The tomb was extravagant and included rivers of mercury and a pearl encrusted ceiling.

The tomb was extravagant and included rivers of mercury and a pearl encrusted ceiling.

Cherie was happy not to have been one of Qin Shi Huang’s concubines, since all the barren ones were entombed with the emperor.

Cherie was happy not to have been one of Qin Shi Huang’s concubines, since all the barren ones were entombed with the emperor.

The detail is astonishing.

The detail is astonishing.

Larger than the greatest pyramid in Egypt, Qin Shi Huang’s tomb is located on Lishan Hill overlooking the Wei River.

Larger than the greatest pyramid in Egypt, Qin Shi Huang’s tomb is located on Lishan Hill overlooking the Wei River.

Brass chariots were also unearthed.

Brass chariots were also unearthed.

Cherie hanging out with a bunch of stiffs.

Cherie hanging out with a bunch of stiffs.

Medium-sized nice Scott hangs out with the big mean Terra-Cotta warrior.

Medium-sized nice Scott hangs out with the big mean Terra-Cotta warrior.

Hey big boy.

Hey big boy.

Nature's little joke. He forgot to wipe his nose!

Nature's little joke. He forgot to wipe his nose!

Who do you think won this staring contest?

Who do you think won this staring contest?

He won, but I wasn't happy about it.

He won, but I wasn't happy about it.

I've known Scott since we were 15-years old; we've been buddies since high school.

I've known Scott since we were 15-years old; we've been buddies since high school.

Scott, who teaches English in Rome, sits down for a spot of tea in China.

Scott, who teaches English in Rome, sits down for a spot of tea in China.

Looks like Cherie's lucky day!

Looks like Cherie's lucky day!

Sorry, I can't take you seriously with that hat on.

Sorry, I can't take you seriously with that hat on.

Scott--we're going to get kicked out of this country!

Scott--we're going to get kicked out of this country!

How do we catch a ride in one of those things?

How do we catch a ride in one of those things?

Taking a walk on a brisk chilly day in Xian.

Taking a walk on a brisk chilly day in Xian.

It seems as if we've slipped back in time.

It seems as if we've slipped back in time.

Cherie and Scott prepare to enter the Qin dynasty.

Cherie and Scott prepare to enter the Qin dynasty.

Don't we look Chinese?

Don't we look Chinese?

Scott, I promise not to tell any of our friends that you wore a Chinese dress.

Scott, I promise not to tell any of our friends that you wore a Chinese dress.

You can leave your hat on.

You can leave your hat on.

Things are big in China.

Things are big in China.

China has a thing with big gates.

China has a thing with big gates.

A funky frozen fountain.

A funky frozen fountain.

Scott is in another world.

Scott is in another world.

Cherie and a Chinese snowman.

Cherie and a Chinese snowman.

This Buddha ate too much.

This Buddha ate too much.

Life before Weight Watchers.

Life before Weight Watchers.

Scott and I meet one of the farmers who discovered the Xian's Terra-Cotta Warriors.

Scott and I meet one of the farmers who discovered the Xian's Terra-Cotta Warriors.

Chinese architecture.

Chinese architecture.

Ok--this hat works way better.

Ok--this hat works way better.

No wonder the emperor had such a huge ego--he had to have a big head to wear those crazy hats!

No wonder the emperor had such a huge ego--he had to have a big head to wear those crazy hats!

I'm just not sure why Scott and I stand out in China.

I'm just not sure why Scott and I stand out in China.

After exploring Xian, we board a train to our next destination.

After exploring Xian, we board a train to our next destination.

Scott drinking a beer in the train's dining car.

Scott drinking a beer in the train's dining car.

We hung out with these guys for hours but didn't understand a word they said.

We hung out with these guys for hours but didn't understand a word they said.

Goodbye Xian!

Goodbye Xian!

This is lunch--some sort of sweet potato served by street vendors.

This is lunch--some sort of sweet potato served by street vendors.