Saturday, April 21, 2018

Terracotta Army Invades Cincinnati

My birthday gift this year was a visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum with the entire family.  The special reason for the visit here was an exhibit on China's terracotta army.  The exhibit included over 120 period artworks as well as 10 of the life sized terracotta warriors.  
 We had seen a similar exhibit at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis in September 2014.  Since this was in Cincinnati we had to go, especially since we will be at the site in China later this year. 
We are fascinated with the find of clay warriors, horses and chariots that were found in a farmer's field in the mid 1970s where they were hidden since they were made around 210 BC.  It is believed that there are over 8,000 soldiers and many hundreds of horses buried in the pits in China's Lintong District.  We loved looking at the differences in the features and faces of each warrior that are said to be unique from one to another and may have even resembled the appearance of one of the craftsman making the figure.  It is believed that nearly three quarters of a million people worked on making the soldiers, horses and chariots.  When the figures were placed in the pits it is believed that they were painted with bright colors that were typical of a human army of the time.  However, in the 2000 years of burial most of the paint has washed away from the figures.
All of this were done to honor the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang who founded the Qin Dynasty (pronounced "Chin") in 201 BC.  He ascended to the throne at the age of 13 and saw the size of his Chinese state expand greatly under his reign.  He ordered the fragments of wall structures found throughout much of China to be unified into what we now know as the Great Wall of China.  He also oversaw the construction of a network of roads that became a national transportation system. To assure the continued unification of China, he abolished feudalism and arranged the country into administrative units. He standardized units of measurements for the nation to assist trade and commerce within the country. Shortly after becoming emperor, he ordered the construction of a giant mausoleum that included the terracotta army.   There is speculation whether the 700,000 workers who built the tomb and warriors were paid workers or slaves but there is some agreement that everyone who worked on the tomb or knew where is is located was killed to preserve the secret.
We had a great day at the museum.  After walking through the terracotta army exhibit, we were entertained by Peter in the children's play area of the museum.  I can't think of a better birthday than to spend the day with my family and to visit an exhibit on the fascinating aspect of ancient Chinese history.
We stopped by Jungle Jim's on the way home to get a bag of our favorite tea then on to Georgetown to drop off Ian and Emily.