Terracotta Warriors in Person (and in San Francisco)

If Maria can't go to China to see the famed terracotta warriors, then the terracotta warriors go to San Francisco (so Maria can have no more excuse to see them.)!!!!

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I've been aware of the visit of the terracotta warriors at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco since February, but I was too busy to go. I knew that I wouldn't missed this chance, since seeing the terracotta warriors is one of the must-dos in my lifetime. I waited until the last minute, well not literally, because unbeknownst to me May was the Asian Pacific Heritage month and in connection with this, Target (the dep't store) sponsored a free day at Asian Art Museum. In addition, the special exhibit Terracotta Warriors was only $10.00, instead of the regular $22.00. Plus, just outside the museum was a street festival (another post).

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I'm not going to write about the history of terracotta warriors, just read it here.

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In 1980, archeologists excavated two chariots with horses and armed charioteers just west of the First Emperor's tomb. The chariots were meticulously cast in bronze and richly embellished with gold, silver and painted detail. Each chariot weighs more than a ton. These are replicas. The originals are Chinese national treasures that do not travel.

The exhibition featured 10 of the famed figures along with more than 100 artifacts. I was psyched when photography was allowed (no flash, many guards enforcing it). I couldn't believe my luck. Except of course, it was a free day, only 2 weeks left before the exhibit leaves, thus the place was packed even though the museum was good at controlling the number of people at certain "showtimes". It was difficult to take a picture, much less set up a tripod. I have seen a few with tripod but couldn't use it for lack of space.

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Armored general. Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE). Distinguished by his commanding post, headdress, armor and ribbons of rank, the general is the highest ranking and most structurally impressive of all the terracotta warriors. Only 9 generals have been excavated to date. Although the warriors were mass-produced, they were individualized through hand carving at the final stage.

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Armored kneeling archer. Positioned at the front of Pit 2, kneeling archers protect the cavalry and chariots. These warriors are equipped with shoulder and body armor and wear their braided in a topknot. Intricate details remain, including tread on the archer's shoe.

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Standing archer. Excavated in Pit 1, Qin Shihuang tomb complex.

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The front is a light infantryman.

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With the cavalry horse.

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Another warrior.

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There were three exhibit rooms, the first one is where the warriors were and a few artifacts. The other two carried the artifacts.

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In 2001, a pit containing 15 terracotta musicians and 46 life-sized bronze waterbirds was found about 2 miles NE of the First Emperor's tomb. The birds, which retain some of their original pinkish paint, were discovered on the banks of an artificial waterway. Some archaeologists believe the pit represents a royal park or sacred water garden.

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Yongzhong bell.

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Bo bell.

A few artifacts also on exhibit.

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The museum gift shop makes sure you can take home your own terracotta warriors. I wish I got me one.

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  1. Your photos turned out great! It can be tough photographing in museum lighting.
    Regrettably I didn't make it to the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit. I'm even more bummed after seeing your fantastic photos, but thank you for giving me a glimpse of them.

  2. Fascinating post and fantastic shots. I hope you have a happy week.

  3. I love visiting museums that's why I find this post fascinating. I just love the stories behind the artifacts. Oh! I have yet to visit the link provided.

    Luck was on your side...happy for you. I've heard that photography is not allowed in most of the museums in US.

  4. Fantastic series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  5. Those are excellent photos. We had an exhibition at the British museum of some of the terracotta army and then I was fortunate enough to go to China to see them in situ but I have to say that you saw a little more of the soldiers in the exhibition as you are able to get much closer. Also able to see the original colours of some of the figures which you couldn't see at Xian.

  6. Fantastic shots of a very interesting place. Love the beautiful horses!

  7. Fascinating...I love that they let you take pictures...and they are so good. Thank you for the link; I didn't know anything about these warriors before.

  8. Oh wow, great shots! I missed the exhibit when it was here, thanks for the tour!

  9. Wonderful shots. The items on display are cool.

  10. Interesting! Museums are great place to see stuffs from places you haven't traveled to.
    Those warriors, i can only imagine their stories.

  11. Wow! Very interesting tour! One good thing about changing exhibitions is that the exhibits are duplicate and we could have closer look! Originals are always hidden away or far away!

  12. Wonderful captures! Thank you for sharing

  13. wow, such an interesting post, off course a visit which couldn't be missed...

  14. What fabulous shots! I missed the soldiers when they came to Sweden.

  15. I so love visiting museums.
    Great photos you share with us here.

  16. Nice exhibition!Your photos are very cool. It's very famous that each warrior has a different look.
    I would to go to see the exhibition,if it were held in Tokyo.

  17. Thanks for sharing this amazing sequence, Maria.
    Very interesting post.

  18. Fabulous exhibit! Lucky you. I still hope I can see them at their original place. :-)

  19. You did a great job of shooting considering the adverse conditions. Excellent presentation or this fascinating show.

  20. I missed them when they were here and now I really regret it. Fabulous pics!

  21. What an interesting and fascinating exhibit, and your photos are amazing!


  22. Wonderful photo's from a very interesting exhibition.

  23. what a ton of treasures! the photos are exceptional for having to use no flash. amazing artisans left such gems!

  24. Outstanding photos of the terra cotta warriors. Photography is not allowed in Xian where they are on display, but we could take pictures so long as we didn't use flash. It was a cold day where we were there and there were very few other visitors. Emperor Qui Shi Huangdi whose tomb it is, was a nasty character.

    Those warriors travel well for having stiff knees.

  25. Thanks for the tour! it was quite interesting

  26. The figures are magnificent, but especially love the chariots and horses featured in the 4th and 5th photos!

  27. terribly fascinating especially the chariot and horses

  28. excellent photos! the history of the terra cotta warriors is quite fascinating--you're lucky you didn't have to travel to China.:p

  29. OMG. I can just imagine how impressive this was for you. If ever I get a chance to see the exhibit, I will...and will only hope it'll be as cheap! Lucky you.

  30. lucky you, photography's allowed; great captures!!!

    i watched an episode of a travel show (was it samantha brown's or someone else's) that featured these terracotta warriors in china. awesome!

    how much do they sell each piece of terracotta warrior souvenir?

  31. hi dear!
    been quite a while since my last visit.
    i miss reading your blog like always. ^0^
    i love this post!
    i was totally glued into this one.
    did you know that I had to go all the way to Xian just to see these warriors!?
    this was a gr8 exhibit indeed.


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