Sunday, April 10, 2011

Terra Cotta Warriors / Goodbye Sharon

Today we became a family of tourists. We are waiting for papers from the notary and Katie's passport, so we were finally able to see more of Xi'an than the inside of the adoption office. We visited the Terra Cotta Warriors and went to a government authorized craft shop where replicas of the warriors are made using the same clay used over 2,000 years ago. Bryan was especially fascinated.

There are more than 6,000 warriors in Pit 1 alone. The warriors were part of the burial mausolium for Emperor Qin (pronounced Chin). He was the first to unite the kingdoms that are now China. The country gets its name from Emperor Qin.

The warriors were discovered in the 1970's during a drought when the govenment paid farmers to dig wells. One of the farmers happened to dig his well at the very corner of what is now Pit 1. He found a head of one of the warriors and thought it was a god. He blamed it for his poor crops. The government later took his land to excavate the site, later giving him more land. He is now a celebrity. He signed books at the site the day we visited.

The warriors themselves were created by hand, with no two sharing the same face. Only seven generals were found among the thousands of statues. Many were broken and/or had their weapons stolen during a peasant revolt. The statues were designed using ropes of clay, then sculpted in pieces, the heads being separate from the bodies. The bodies are completely hollow.

The warriors have designations that can be identified by their hairstyles and clothing. The vanguard wore no armor. They were the bravest of soldiers as they were the first to meet the enemy and first to die. Generals had a butterfly hairstyle. Their uniforms included ribbons, each representing 1,000 men killed. The highest ranking general had six ribbons. Other soldiers found included officers/advisors, infantry, cavalry, standing archers, and kneeling archers. Smallish horses were also sculpted. Bryan loved the horses since he was born in the year of the horse. Three pits have been excavated thus far, including "headquarters" where sacrifices were made to gods. We were impressed by the size and detail of what the Chinese claim as the "Eighth Manmade Wonder of the World." The actual burial site of Emperor Qin is a flat-topped mountain near the warrior site. It cannot be excavated due to mercury poisoning and traps built into the site, much like Egyptian pyramids.

The sad news of the day was having to say goodbye to Sharon. Sissia has returned and will take over as our facilitator tomorrow. I pray for God's blessings on Sharon and her family. I hope that God will put people in her path that will help draw her into a relationship with him through Christ.

We also had to say goodbye to our driver, Mr. Fong. How can I describe travel in Xi'an? Imagine millions of cars trying to go to the same place on 4 lanes. Did I mention that they have to get there at the same time? The result is a giant game of chicken with bicycles, tricycle transports, and motorcycles weaving in and out wherever they see a crack in traffic. Pedestrians are on their own and NEVER have the right of way. Cross one lane at a time if you dare. Pedestrians are the modern equivalent to the Qin army vanguard!

P.S. Helpful information of the day: A Chinese bathroom is called the "happy house."

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