China’s First Emperor at the Terracotta Warriors
Following the crowd through a corridor, I finally caught a glimpse of it over all the heads. To say I’d be waiting a while to see the Terracotta Warriors is an understatement. Ever since I was little and saw a documentary on ancient China, I’d been fascinated with the country’s history and heritage, and have dreamed of visiting the Terracotta Army in Xi’an since then. Whilst it might fall a little short of a trip to Asia, as soon as I head that the Terracotta Warriors were coming to Liverpool, I just had to book tickets.
What is the Terracotta Army?
The Terracotta Army, also known as the Terracotta Warriors, is a collection of terracotta sculptures that were found in 1974 by local farmers in Xi’an, China when they were digging a new well.
The sculptures depict the impressive armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China and were buried with the emperor over 2000 years ago, in 210-209 BCE, to protect him in the afterlife.
Whilst the exact number of terracotta sculptures buried in Xi’an is unknown, estimates from 2007 stated that the collection contained more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, 520 horses and 150 calvary horses, as well as other officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.
The vast majority of the Terracotta Army remains buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum.
Visiting the Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Warriors exhibition is held at the World Museum, Liverpool until 28th October 2018 as part of Liverpool’s 2018 celebrations which sees the city embracing its Far East links.
It’s the first time in 10 years that the Terracotta Army has traveled to the UK, and the first time since the 1980’s that they have been shown outside London so is really a great opportunity!
It is strongly recommended that you book tickets for the exhibition in advance. Prices range from £5.50 for children aged between 6 – 17 years, to £14.50 for adults.
Photography is allowed, just no flash.
If you have time, I’d really recommend making a day of it and exploring the rest of the museum. Other displays include Ancient Egypt, an Aquarium, Dinosaurs, a Planetarium and World Cultures.
The World Museum is free to enter and is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
After watching a short introductory film on Chinese Culture and the Terracotta Warriors, we followed the rest of the people in our time slot down a corridor. Immediately we were presented with what I’d dreamed of seeing for so long.
I’ve got to be honest, the Terracotta Warriors are taller than I thought they would be and I was so impressed by how close the exhibition allows you to get to them. Whilst I might not have seen rows and rows of the Terracotta Army, I did get to see all the fine details, which makes the whole collection seem even more impressive!
Just look at the detail on the horse’s saddle! It’s incredible to think all this was done by hand on such a large scale.
I was pleasantly surprised by how big the exhibition was and it has been put together beautifully with Chinese arches linking the different areas and ceiling-to-floor artwork lining the walls.
Apart from the Terracotta Army, other objects are shown from museums and institutes from across the Shaanxi province that has been excavated over the last 40 years, some of which have never been shown in the UK before!
All of the artifacts, such as jewelry, tiles, pottery and even shoe soles, give an insight into the first Emperor’s quest for immortality and his beliefs regarding the afterlife.
Did you know that most of the terracotta objects and warriors were brightly colored, and the rooster above is one of a few that still shows its original paint? Also, how cute are those little rabbit beads?! There were so many details that were amazing.
Let’s be honest though, the Terracotta Army is the true star of the exhibition in Liverpool.
In addition to the horse and warrior at the entrance to the exhibition, there are two carriages and a row of 7 figures showing the different types of warriors excavated. Like I said, it might not be the endless rows of sculptures in the pits you can see in Xi’an, but being able to appreciate the warriors this close is something truly special. I mean, look at the folds in the warriors clothing, or the detail on the horses?! You wouldn’t be able to see that in Xi’an, that’s for sure!
I could have spent all day in the exhibition and really want to go back and see it again before it goes. Seeing the Terracotta Army is a special thing, but being able to see the Terracotta Warriors so close, and in Liverpool is a once-in-a-lifetime event!
Are you planning on visiting the exhibition?