Sunday, April 19, 2009
Earthen Ambassadors from China
Yesterday I went to Atlanta's High Museum of Art to see a detachment from the 8,000-strong terra cotta army that stood guard for over 2,000 years in the tomb of Qin Shi Huang (259 BC – 210 BC), the first Chinese Emperor.
Terra Cotta Army at Xi'an, China
There are several types of soldiers represented in the army -- infantry, charioteers (with horses), archers, officers -- and each of the 8,000 has a unique face and head: you can see facial differences between old and young, different hairstyles, and various kinds of hats. The figures range from 6'0" to 6'5" in height -- what would have been almost mythological proportions to the people of the time. Though the figures are all a dull grayish-brown now (terra cotta is a clay-based unglazed ceramic), when first sent into active duty they were painted in a rainbow of brilliant colors.