Friday, September 16, 2011

Uncovering the Terracotta Warriors

During the one-week September school holidays, we brought the kids to the Terracotta Warriors exhibition, currently on at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Time for a dose of history and culture!

Brief history of the terracotta warriors: in 1974, an army of thousands of pottery soldiers and horses was unearthed outside Xi'an, near the tomb of the First Emperor of China. This amazing architectural find revealed a great deal about early China and Chinese art. This is a picture of the actual site.

An installation showing how the terracotta warriors and horses were made.

It was an ambitious project. Heads, limbs and torsos were made separately from terracotta and then assembled. Figures were originally painted in vibrant hues but these have decomposed over time.

This is the main display with a good representation of the major figures - the one right in front is the general.

Nearly 150 suits of limestone armour were found in the tomb. However, limestone is too fragile and heavy for battle so historians suspect they were purely symbolic.

Soon after the death of Qin Shihuang in 210BC, the Han dynasty began. The Hans rejected the life-size soldiers of the Qin dynasty and instead, opted for more modest figures purely as symbolic gestures. These are soldiers with shields.

In the tomb of Jingli, the 4th Han emperor, archeologists unearthed not just soldiers and horses but also animals, farming tools and everyday utensils. This is the mould for Han coins.

Figures were almost androgynous in nature but also featured women. Silly question of the day: Guess which is the woman and which is the eunuch in this picture? Andre thought this display was rather obscene, bwahaha!

There is an accompanying exhibition to the Terracotta Warriors - an installation by local artist, Justin Lee which blends Western pop art with traditional eastern sculpture. Very dramatic and cool, I thought!

The exhibition is very educational and definitely worth a visit. Even though it's smaller than I expected (45 mins is more than enough), it's still interesting, especially if you have no plans to visit the actual site in China!

Kids from local schools enjoy free entry and if you hold a Passion card, you get 50% off adult ticket prices. Pretty good deal. Exhibition is on till 16 October 2011.


Anonymous said...

Thanks. Think u covered it well here. Now wonder if I need to go? hahahah. Blessed weekend!


monlim said...

Jo: Haha, go bring the kids lah! Just 1/2 hour then you can hop off for dinner and say you did a cultural activity :P

Unknown said...

wow lovely i like it

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