A Forced March to the Terracotta Warriors- Xi` An China

I`m the only one who wanted to go. Two of the Clampitts flat refused. One actually had a good excuse being that he is living in Canada at the moment. The other got a lecture on culture, missed opportunities, and a stern warning not to blame me for not seeing the Terracotta Warriors in therapy later. The last Clampitt accused me of over packing the agenda, “Like you always do.”  The travel agent was skeptical- but he didn`t understand that a fast walker with a short attention span cuts an agenda in half.

Offspring #2 and I marched toward China. In her case, it was a forced march. As much as she enjoys her time at the pottery wheel, I couldn`t get her to rally any interest around these fellows. We connected and flew an additional two hours to Xi` An. Home of the Terracotta Warriors.

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Raise your hand if you`d never heard of Xi`An (pronounced Shee Ann) before you saw this. This city we`d never heard of is as big as New York City. Population 8 million. It`s all under construction. (Beijing is 20 million, Hong Kong 7 million)


A drive by. I would like to be the owner of the crane company selling to China. This was taken about an hour outside the main city.

An hour from Xi` An is the excavation site of the Warriors. In the 1970`s some farmers were digging a well and happened to dig in to the very corner of 8,000 buried life-sized Terracotta Warriors.


Fearing they`d unearthed a Zombie apocalypse, they commenced to hashing and slashing. They soon realized these zombies were not the fighting sort and took a closer look.  Unfortunately for them, they had dug up something significant on their now former farm.


A mere 2,200 years ago, Emperor-Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China and the first to unify it commissioned the creation of the warriors. They took 37 years to complete.


The museum was built over the excavation site. 1,000 of the soldiers were uncovered however, the rest remain buried. Each soldier is unique and painted to be lifelike, however, upon exposure to air the paint disintegrates. At this point the technology doesn`t exist to prevent the degradation of the paint so the remaining 7,000 will stay buried until they can be excavated safely. Since they are different, I guess you can`t say if you`ve seen one you`ve seen them all.

A picture from the Travel Book shows how they looked painted.




The Warriors are lined up in battle formation. Or so I was told. Infantry in the front. Further down the line, soldiers wear armor. That`s all I can recall of that conversation. Something else about horses being in a certain spot, and guardsman in another, and maybe certain people face different directions? Each also had weapons however, most were stolen during the last two millennia. Anyway, I`d prefer not to give away any Chinese military secrets as their military police are the scariest most bad ass dudes I`ve ever seen anywhere and I`m still afraid. Here. My lips are sealed.


I guess a flat top never really goes out of style.

Generals are stationed at the corners. (Our little secret)



Interesting mane arrangements.


The reins are long gone.

This is how they originally looked.


Two sets of bronze chariots and horses were unearthed.





Following are pictures from the “Valiant Imperial Warrior 2200 Years Ago” Guide which highlights the level of detail on each warrior.

Hair Tips. I did this over the weekend and it came out really nice.


Surprisingly well manicured.




I sprung for the autographed copy. Naturally the farmer just happened to be on a “break” when I was in the gift shop. Probably a bunch of ladies in the back signing these.


After all these years, still happy to pose with tourists.


Ok- this is a fake. Hate to admit it. Three fakes and a back drop. It cost me 30 cents. How could I not do it? OS#2 said it was easy not to.

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29 Responses to A Forced March to the Terracotta Warriors- Xi` An China

  1. rimassolosailingaroundtheworldm says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your blog I love it to discover on social network.


  2. Ashmore says:

    I find this whole thing absolutely fascinating. I would love to see them, but was under the impression that they were unearthed in BFE…I stand corrected. I can’t believe they let you get that close…that’s SO cool!


  3. cowgirlyy says:

    I love this. For one, someone finally dug up something worthwhile. Most of my treasures end up being someone’s old sock or pop can. For two, the hair buns. Horses and hair buns, it’s like they memorialized me! Great blog. 🙂


  4. Robin Bradley says:

    Your blog makes me laugh!!! Full of great historical information, mixed with a “bit” of expat humor. Would love to take a trip with you, but would probably spend most of my time laughing instead of paying attention to important tour guide information. Thank you for sharing!!!!!


    • Hey Robin- you`re sweet Believe me- my Offspring don`t appreciate my humor so I`m glad someone does! In my next post I will cover how I almost got arrested getting sneak poses with some very scary military police. OS#2 was not amused with my antics.


  5. Judy says:

    What impressed me most when I saw them a few years ago was the sheer scale of it. As you say just a fraction have been unearthed. Amazing that the tomb was “lost” for so long. You’d think a construction project like that would have stuck around in the collective memory of the locals.


    • Right! That is so true. It is amazing- especially with his tomb being close by. I heard after the big earthquake here that knowledge of “big” things is lost after 3 generations- in that case people didn`t remember tsunamis big enough to wipe out the town. They therefore “forgot” that the rock markes along the coast were reminders not to build below that spot as anything below was in danger. Interesting.


  6. i’ve been to xi’a twice and i really liked the city, and the warriors too, of course… did you go to the ancient city wall? and ride a bike on it? it’s my favorite of all…
    the last but not the least – thank you for the post – i enjoyed it a lot!


  7. jesspants says:

    I saw the warriors in Minneapolis, MN, and was really impressed! We’re the weapons actually stolen? I thought the tomb hadn’t been disturbed over the years, and the weapons (largely wooden) are thought to have disintegrated, and metal bits/pieces (arrow heads, spear heads, etc…) were found that support this theory.

    Love your thoughts and pictures, and I am insanely jealous that you got to see them in their home!


    • Hey Jesspants- so what I remember is that a large group of peasants ( I believe) broke in to the tombs a long time ago and smashed many of the warriors and took many of the weapons. In the main gallery- there are 3- you can see where many are being put back together. But you are also right in that after 2200 years many of the things that were wooden, rope etc have long ago rotted or fallen apart leaving on the terracotta behind. It was truly amazing to see the scope of these things. Spread over miles and miles. Amazing!


  8. Glad you made it to see all these chaps! They do make quite an impressive display, don’t they? I think Emperor Qin “did away with” all the people who worked on the tomb so that they wouldn’t try to rob it – that’s why no one knew about it. I’m impressed that the farmer still looks as young as he did when he found the tombs 37 years ago – he hasn’t aged one bit!!! We saw him when were there 10 years ago – he looked like he would be happier if he were farming again instead of signing tourist books…. but then again it might have been his stunt double who was doing the signing on his behalf!


    • Well, I never saw him so this may be an old shot. He may be old and bent by now! The ladies at the desk kept saying “He`ll be right back!” It was one of the greatest things I`Ve ever seen- and certainly I never thought I would.


  9. addercatter says:

    Wow. That must have been incredible to see! (Jealous) Kat


  10. Last year the warriors were on tour! True story. They came to NYC- saw a few shows, ate some good pizza, went to Central Park.

    Seriously though they were at an exhibit at the Discovery Museum. Absolutely astonishing. I couldn’t believe how large and detailed some of them were. (I’m sure they were replicas but still!) One of the museum info cards said that the hairstyles and outfits of each warrior shows his status in the regime. I also thought the horses were incredible but we didn’t see any of the chariots like the ones in your photos.


  11. I am SO jealous of your trip to see these fantastic relics. The pictures are awesome. Maybe some day I’ll see a traveling exhibit; that would be cool!

    How goes the moving plans? Must be bittersweet for you, just as you’ve gotten acclimated to Japan. Your next adventure will be fabulous as well.

    I look forward to reading about the transition and final parties! Gonbatte’ kudasai!


  12. panbambina says:

    Love the article. Love the pictures. And teens don’t get it.


  13. Dana says:

    I’ve always wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors, but a trip to China *just* for that seems a bit excessive. Thankfully I can live vicariously through your blog… again! Great descriptions and photos. What a cool site!


  14. I can’t tell you how long I poured over your article and pictures. Then I took it to my son and we read the whole thing and marveled again. I have always been intrigued by the Terracotta Warriors.


  15. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Horse Paints & Sells Work In Gallery « Bayard & Holmes

  16. Wow, cool. Never been to the actual place. Once, me and my dad went to see a few of them in a museum. It was awesome; I particularly like the war horses, and the different warrior’s hairstyles. 🙂 I’d always wanted to see how tall they were compared to me, and I did. Wish fulfilled.


  17. Hi,
    You have a very creative and nice work done here.
    I am new to read your tourism stories.
    What compelled me dropping few lines of comments are those marvelous pictures you have shared of soldiers (statues) standing in lines.
    Although I have a immense attraction for history but it’s not always possible for me to explore the world history in that depth and rather depend on television and blogs like yours to peak in for some old ancient smell!
    Wish you a pleasant trip ahead.


  18. Tracey says:

    Hello matee nice post


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