Friday 12 June 2009

PFF: The Terracotta Army

I can't read the postmark, but the date is 13 May 2009.
Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang and terra-cotta warriors and horses.

I'd always intended to go to the exhibition of the Terracotta Army when it was in London at the British Museum, but it never happened. It must be a fantastic sight in real life, though probably not quite so much when there are only 20 figures as there were in the exhibition. I don't imagine I'll ever get to see the originals, so if the exhibition comes around again, I will be there. In the meantime I was really delighted to find this card in the post a few days ago. 

I imagine almost everyone has heard of the Terracotta Army by now.  I can even remember when the discovery was first announced.  Local farmers in Xi'an found the figures accidentally when digging for a well in 1974 and now the site is considered by many to be the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The figures are not only life-size and lifelike, but each was individually made by craftsmen in fine detail.  No two figures are the same.  The heads, arms, legs and bodies were crafted separately and then assembled, and once assembled, the individual details were added according to rank. 

The arrival of this card is very timely because archaeologists in China have begun a new dig in the hope of finding a "leader" for the army.  This will be the third excavation on the vast site and is expected to last a year.  They intend to take more note of the painted details because those figures that have been exposed to the air since the first excavation have faded badly.

A post for Postcard Friendship Friday.

Because the craftsmen who created the army are probably the nearest I'm going to get to the theme, I am including this in the Postcard Scavenger Hunt - Handicrafts.

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  1. I wanted to go to the exhibition too but it was always sold out! Lovely postcard.

  2. I had know idea that they were planning a 3 excavation! I'll have to google alert this! I always set up email alerts for specific news stories! Everything moves so fast.. This is something that I don't want to miss learning more about! Wild! Happy PFF my dear!

  3. This terracotta army must be an overwhelming spectacle. I never intended to go to the London exhibition, but I sure do now - if it ever returns. Greetings from Amsterdam.

  4. The famous terracotta warriors. Read in the newspapers they are planning further excavations.

    The vast army must be such a sight to behold.

  5. I would love to visit China one day and of course the famous terracotta warriors is a must see.

  6. Fascinating, thanks for sharing

  7. Oh my, that is such a great picture of them! I love the whole legend surrounding them, too!

  8. Impressive photo and interesting post!

  9. WOW!!! This is amazing, I have never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Hi
    Oh my such a wonderful postcard.
    Happy PFF to you .
    I have always been intrigued by this unique discovery.
    Have a fabulous weekend.
    Happy Trails

  11. I just visited this place few weeks ago.
    The Terracotta Army was covered under my Silk Road trip. I even have chance to get a signature of the farmer ~ who is top level of this museum.
    They told us that the 3rd digging was great and they found a lot of terracotta ~~ which had coloured on their body. However, they choose to covered them into ground again as they found the colored oxidize after few days expose to the air.

  12. I remember studying about the Terracotta Army and I was truly fascinated with it. It's takes my breath away whenever I see the photos. I'm not sure why I react to it that way - maybe it's the individuality of it all - yet the uniformity. Thank you!

  13. That is a good example of handicraft/folk art. I can't remember hearing about the army before.

  14. I remember when they discovered the army. And ever since I have put it on my list of to see. Someday.....
    Hope your weekend has been beautiful.

  15. How fascinating. and life sized? that would be an amazing sight. I didn't know about it before. Thanks for sharing!


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