As part of our travels in Eastern China last year we were to make a quick 24 hour stop in Xi’an to see the now famous Terracotta Warriors. We were to fly out of Beijing on an early morning flight and arrive in Xi’an around noon, then drive the hour or so to the museum, where we would spend the afternoon and then depart for Chongqing early the next morning. We all know what is said about the best laid schemes of mice and men, this one too was to go awry. Due to the poor weather our flight from Beijing was delayed 4 hours and so it was we didn’t reach Xi’an until mid afternoon, too late to reach the museum before closing. Needless to say there was huge disappointment in some quarters, this for many of the group was to have been the highlight of their trip.
However that was not to be the end of the story. The guides, intrepid as always, regrouped and arranged that the museum would open for us early the next morning and we were to be granted a “private audience” with the warriors, before the official opening time. In the organising of the trip I had been interested to visit the museum but didn’t really have any expectations. I can now honestly say it was one of the highlights of the trip. We walked into the first pit area with the morning sun shining low through the museum windows and bathing the pits and their silent occupants in a beautiful light. It was peaceful there, almost reverent, we were a relatively small group and we had the place to ourselves. The warriors themselves, their individuality, variety and their extensive numbers was impressive and the archeologists have only scratched the surface in terms of the amount of excavation so far undertaken. Considering the source of the whole elaborate scheme was the tyrannical Emperor Qin, it was difficult to equate this peaceful scene with the brutality and harshness which had created it. I will say, it is a sight to behold and one which should not to be missed if you ever find yourself in this part of the world.
Here is a clip from the National Geographic website: click here