Tuesday, November 24, 2009

woman warrior

Ever since I learned about the Terra Cotta Warriors in my history books in grade school, I've always dreamed of seeing them. The first emperor of China (Emporer Qin) was obsessed with fear of the afterlife. He built an army of terra cotta soldiers more than 8,000 strong, each crafted by hand and with exquisite detail. When he died prematurely, he was buried in a secret tomb surrounded on all sides by thousands of warriors, generals, chariots, horses, archers, musicians, entertainers, and even terra cotta animals. True story.

The army was not discovered until thousands of years later ... in 1974. Can you believe that? 1974! A group of peasant farmers discovered them while digging a well, and today archeologists are tirelessly excavating and reconstructing the soldiers one by one. Many were destroyed with time, and due to a peasant uprising just a few years after the emporer's death, but miraculously, many are well-preserved and you can go see them in China--a silent army standing guard for thousands of years.

I intend to go see the actual site in China some day, but today I got to see a small portion of them at the National Geographic Museum in D.C. I've been excited all weekend. Was I really going to see the ACTUAL Terra Cotta Warriors? Could it be!?

When we finally entered the room with the first terra cotta soldier, looking so solemn while holding the reins of a beautifully crafted horse at his side ... I teared up. Yes, I am that big of a dork. But I was simply overwhelmed by the opportunity to see these artifacts that date back thousands and thousands of years, to 209 B.C.!

The emperor was obsessed with preserving himself well into the afterlife, and I'd say he succeeded, beyond his wildest dreams. Could he have ever conceived that thousands of years later, this girl, a descendant of korean peasants, growing up oceans and eons away from his royal palace, would tear up at the sight of one of his warriors, and contemplate the character of a man who many years ago lived in such fear that he needed an army of thousands to grant him peace?

(that face says, OH MY GANDHI)


  1. gosh, you made me realize what an ingrate i was when my parents took us to see the terra cotta army (my baby bro and i called them "terra cotta dudes" or "dirt dudes") when i was 12. i had no appreciation for what i was seeing. and i also didn't know that they were dug up in '74 - wow, no wonder my parents were psyched. welp, now i have something extra to be grateful for - thanks jeannie. :0)

  2. dirt dudes! felicia you are hilarious!!!

  3. it was so whatevers in real life... i appreciated you appreciation for it more than it itself. you are an odd one jeannie :)

  4. that's weird, when i saw them in real life i was totally blown away! but yes, you should have seen jeannie's face. she had to hide her face when we walked into the last room, which had six different warriors in it and two horse-drawn carriages. =)

  5. also, i love that second picture.

  6. also, my jeans looks like pantaloons. lol

  7. Hihi, there are lots of Chinese Qin huang Terra-Cotta Soldier here: