Terracotta Army Xian China
The terracotta army in Xian China is one of the most well know cultural heritage site in China. There are so many movies and legends based on the Terracotta army, and it is on most peoples must visit or see lists when they come to China. The only reason why I came to Xian was to visit the Terracotta army and in many ways, I left extremely disappointed.
The Terracotta army is really far away from Xian city and taking a taxi is a little expensive, so it made the visit bitter sweet for me. I had always thought that they Terracotta army would be massive, with thousands of statues but reality was so different from what I thought it would be like. Walking into the first pit is really impressive, as you look down at all the statues, you are left awestruck, but that is about the best part of the trip there.
The first pit is huge and takes about 10 minutes to walk around, and there is a lot to see, so take your time here. Don’t rush as this is about all there is too see. The main pit is the big attraction with only two smaller pits left. I walked around the main pit 3 times, just enjoying the site as I knew I would never come back to see the Terracotta army again.
The Terracotta warriors themselves are extremely impressive and many of they are in excellent condition. Seeing them in the first pit, row after row of warriors really sparks the imagination of wild fantasies of the past.
Shooting from the back and sides of the pit was no problem but trying to shoot from the front of the pit was a huge pain. All the tourists flock around the entrance, trying to shoot some selfies, the tour guides are trying to tout you or are busy arguing with themselves. My advice is to avoid the front of the pit or wait until lunch time to go take photos from the front of the pit. Just avoid all the crazy tour guides and you will be fine.
The details in each statue is remarkable. Each statue has a different face, body type and appearance. To go to so much trouble for each soldier is incredible. Each face would be difficult but to make each body for the soldier unique means that each piece had to be made individually, so they could not mass produce any parts of the soldiers.
Unfortunately, the terracotta army has not escaped the ravages of time, and some parts of individual soldiers could not be restored. some soldiers are missing hands or their head. But for so many of the warriors to have survived in such good condition is simple a remarkable.
These terracotta warriors are currently being restored and not currently in the pit. As they are completed, they are moved back into the pit. It is painfully slow process, as told to us by the tour guides
These warrior had been under going restoration for the last 3 months.
The first pit was so exciting and had so much to see, that once I had finished it, I headed off to the second pit expecting something equally exciting.
The second and third pits are tiny, small and many of the warriors are still uncovered. The biggest problem facing the Chinese archaeologists is that the warriors are actually painted with many colors but the pigment in the paint is so old that as soon as it is exposed to sunlight, the pigment just fades away leaving the brown statues in the first pit. So none of the second pits warriors will be dug out until they have solved the problem of the pigmentation. I left the second and third pit feeling very disappointed. I had expected so much more than what was on display. If the second and third pit was the same as the first pit, it would have blown me away but it was not to be.
Next up was the museum, located next to pit 3.
The most iconic of the terracotta warriors. He stand proudly in the museum, waiting for everyone with their selfie sticks to snap some shots with him.
These statues are extremely popular and getting a clean shot of them is so difficult. These guys have more fans with selfie sticks than Justin Bieber. Patience is the name of the game here and I waited for nearly 1 hour to be able to take a quick shot.
I left the museum feeling completely underwhelmed. I left pit one feeling so excited and all that excitement had turned into disappointment by the time I had left the museum. If had come to China especially to see the Terracotta warriors, then I would have been so let down. I feel that the Terracotta warriors are over hyped, and there is simple to much negativity around the tourist site. As you left the tourist site, you are greeted with so many touts, trying to sell you their fake goods, or people selling animal skins.
The restaurant was the final straw that made me very sorry that I came to visit the Terracotta warriors. The sign basically says No Japanese People allowed. Now I understand that China and Japan have a very tenuous history with each other but no matter how you look at this, this is just pure racism. While I really like Xian as a city, I left the Terracotta warriors really disliking them. Getting their is not easy, and I would advice any tourist to think carefully before you go their. Pit 1 is great, but the rest of your time there will complete waste of your time.