Friday, September 26, 2008

Pit 1

Today I was totally blown away. It was a wall of wow that hit me as I entered Pit 1 of the terra cotta warrior archaeological site.

After navigating to Bus 306 near the Xi'an train station and riding an hour or so (some portions were through fields of pomegranate trees), we reached a large parking lot (uncommon for China). We processed through tables of trinket sales people, got our tickets, and entered the complex of modern buildings. Not sure of exactly what to expect (we'd seen pictures but weren't really prepared), we entered the excavation site known as Pit 1. Think of the largest airplane hangar you've ever seen, multiply it by ten, and add a tasteful facade to the front. Upon entering, you are faced with thousands of individualized "pottery" statues. Men in carefully detailed uniforms, all with different faces, lined up and seemingly ready to do battle.

In addition to the warriors and horses which are intact, there are thousands more which are yet to be unearthed. There are piles of pieces of warriors, as well as a section of the layout that is dedicated to piecing together fragments like jigsaw puzzles. Beyond Pit 1 were Pits 2 and 3, which were much smaller but impressive in their own right. They contained other types of warriors, like archers and officers.

The sheer magnitude of this set up gave me chills down my spine. The mysterious nature of the story behind the place as well as several unanswered queries of mine continue to do so.



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