Day 7: Terracotta Overdose

Today, our six day lucky streak of beautiful weather was broken. Our trip to see the Terracotta Warriors started off rainy and cold, and I as well as most of my peers were rain jacket-less and shivering. Luckily the museum was inside and the pits where archeologists were excavating were covered with large dome-like tents.

The monument was built by the first emperor of China so that his army could protect him in the afterlife. (He also buried thousands of concubines alive when he died so they’d be with him, too.) Needless to say, he was a very unpopular emperor and after he passed, Chinese citizens broke into the site and destroyed every single statue the emperor had built. Since their discovery, archeologists have been working meticulously to put each soldier, officer, and horse back together. Talk about the ultimate jigsaw puzzle!

When originally built, each figure was brightly painted to make them look more realistic. Also, each figure varied in height, uniform, and hairstyle in accordance with rank. The faces were unique too; although several different facial molds were probably used, the creators of the statues added facial features like wrinkles to make each unique. Similar to the other cultural sites we visited, I was taken aback by the sheer extravagance of the Terracotta Warriors. If anything it has become quite clear to me that Chinese emperors had absolute power and were willing to use immense amounts of resources and people to accomplish massive projects. I can’t imagine living in a world where one person had so much power and control over millions of people.

After seeing the Terracotta Warriors, we ate lunch and traveled back to central Xi’an where we rode bikes on the city wall (which is also made of terracotta). The weather had cleared up and it was now a comfortable temperature and not too sunny. After attempting to ride a tandem bike with a friend and failing, we settled for single person bikes and began our 9 mile trip. After two hours filled with engaging conversation and breathtaking views, we finally finished our (very bumpy) ride. It was both a exhausting and fun way to end our day!

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