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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Terracotta Warriors Exhibition

At the weekend I headed to the Terracotta Warrior Exhibition at Liverpool's World Museum; It was sold out for the day but luckily I had pre-booked my tickets a long time ago. It is definitely worth going and I really enjoyed it. I last saw the Terracotta Warriers 10 years ago when I went on a trip from Beijing to Xi'an specially to see them and this is the first time they have ever been exhibited outside China so I was really excited. You definitely need to get your tickets asap because you will not be disappointed.


The exhibition is in timed slots so that it doesn't get overwhelmed with people, but it was still pretty busy. We had to wait a long time to get to the warriors at the end though so maybe make a bee-line for them and then double back to see the rest.



Anyway, let me show you around to give you a taster of what you've got to look forward to.

First up, there's an intro on the warring states then the Han and Qin dynasties and how they took hold of the majority of what we know today as China. It covers 1000 years of Chinese history and goes into detail about the philosophies of the time; Legalism, Daoism and Confuianism. I loved learning about Daoism since it revolved around nature and compassion and I think we could all get on board with that in this day and age. The rest of the exhibition is focused on Chinas first emperor - Qin Shi Huang - and his terracotta warriors.

The exhibition is full of artefacts from coins, to figurines from the tomb to the warriors themselves. I've taken lots of photos just for myself to remind myself of the stuff they had but I wont show you everything and ruin it for you - here's a little sneak of my favourites.


How cool are these ^^ - all coins! How insane is that. Can you imagine getting a knife or spade-coin for your pay check? Everything was so intricately decorated so it must've taken ages.



So kind of similar to Egyptians, the Chinese buried their emperors with all the things they would need in their next life...including their ladies (the concubines - but only the ones without babies) and any workmen who knew details about the tomb...it's strange how all through time people have held the same belief of life after death but sort of cool at the same time.

They even buried people with models of cows, pigs, goats, chickens and horses- everything they would need to ensure they had an eternal food supply. One of the artefacts in the exhibition (not pictured) is a bronze goose for the ornamental gardens the emperor would stroll in after death... because yanoo we all like a nice walk every now and then don't we? Everything isn't just stock made - although the pottery-producers could make 100's at a time, every creature has individual features.


They also believed Jade had immortality properties so there were loads of artefacts made of it but there was even this Jade disk on the coffin so his soul could jump on in and out whenever the mood took him. I love artefacts and history...I actually came really close to studying Egyptology and History at University and was only stopped by the thought...who will employ me after? I'm glad I didn't in the end but I do still find it really interesting.


The emperor also needed an army so he had the warriors made. Lifesize infantry (6ft!) with weapons made specifically for the tomb that had never been used. These men were painted in full regalia (the colours have faded because of exposure to air) and are all individually made so they have different features, hairstyles and dress depending on their social class, rank, age etc. 



So realistic with the folds in the fabric and facial features. There were 8000 men and hundreds of horses made which is amazing really.


The majority of the army are still buried to:

a) be respectful to the beliefs - which I love; and,

b) The artefacts start to degrade once exposed to air (hence the loss of colour) so they are leaving them preserved until technology improves. I thought that was really mindful and I'm pleased that one day hopefully they will be able to have one on display that looks exactly as it did.



I hope you enjoy - Tickets can be bought here.

p.s. if you have time pop in next door to the super-cool picton reading room in the central library,

X


Harry pot-pots eat your heart out.
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