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Xi'an's Terracotta Army

rain 18 °C

Two thousand two hundred years ago Qin Shi Huang became the first Emperor of a united China at the age of thirteen and during his lifetime some 700,000 craftsmen were employed to prepare for his death. An entire full-size city was built for him to occupy in the afterlife – complete with city walls, palaces, temples and, apparently, a hundred faux rivers flowing with mercury. No ancient royal court would be complete without government officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians, and no emperor would be safe without his guards, so, the builder’s of Qin’s Shangri-La provided him with a personal entourage and an entire army…
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Following Qin’s death and burial the vast city was covered with huge wooden roofs and layers of woven blankets and then buried beneath an enormous manmade hill where most of it remains today. But in 1974 a farmer digging a well a mile or so from the underground city unearthed some interesting pottery shards and when the site was excavated Qin’s army of terracotta warriors was discovered…
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It is believed that there are more than 8,000 life-sized terracotta soldiers, each with a unique face, but only a few hundred have been unearthed so far…
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There are also some 770 full-sized terracotta horses with the remains of 130 real wooden chariots and more are uncovered each year.
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Xi’an was the epicenter of the Qin dynasty and must have been a huge city two hundred years BC. But it is no small potatoes today. It doesn’t loom large as far as Chinese cities go, with a population of only 8 million, but it has some of the most upmarket shopping malls we have seen so far. It also has a frenetic downmarket shopping area where stores are stocked with everything imaginable - much of it fake. But the market area is best known for food, especially its huge selection of fruit and nuts. Dried persimmons, pineapples, kiwis and dates of all kinds are heaped on the stalls while fresh pomegranates are squeezed in a just a tick...
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But it is walnut time in China and every nut emporium has an old-fashioned walnut dryer on hand to capture our attention…
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We weren’t fooled into thinking that they were actually drying the nuts – none of them had fires – but it was fun to watch. It was also fun to watch these two guys with huge mallets energetically smashing peanuts into a delicious form of peanut brittle…
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We love work – especially when someone else is doing it - but now we too have to get to work and hop on a plane to our next stop – Shanghai.
The deadline for entering the exciting competition to win a postcard from China ends on Saturday - so don't miss out. And foodies - we haven't forgotten you. We have had many incredible meals in China and will be doing a food special in the next few days.

Posted by Hawkson 06:02 Archived in China

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Comments

Astounding! Hopefully it's all covered now with as good a roof as the ancient one. Preserving all of those figures will be a real challenge.
Looking forward to the food special.

by R and B

your online learning is truly wonderful, thank you. Really is a bit mind-boggling. Great event photography. Looking forward to more. btw, your car, even though outside, starts perfectly. G

by gottfried

It's been interesting to follow your China stops, as my brother and his wife just got back from covering the same territory.....love getting two looks at those wondrous sites. Hugs, Sharron

by Sharron

Such a remarkable display. You must have had such a sense of awe when seeing it for the first time. Can't wait for the food special. The photos of the vendors give hope... maybe future malls here will become simpler as costs rise and products disappear. Farmer's markets are the best. Sue

by Sue Fitzwilson

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