April 18, 2010
GSI China Trip – Day 8
Warriors of another kind
By Maria Vandervert
We had another busy day today visiting the Banpo Site and the Terra Cotta Warriors. The Banpo was a matriarchal clan community of the Yangshao culture in the Neolithic age. I’ve now heard of the countryside in southwest China and would like to see Guilin, Yangshuo, Dali, Lijang, and Xishuangbanna, and I think Lily, our Xian tour guide said there is a matriarchal society in the southwest.
The life size Terra Cotta Warriors were a sight to see. Built during the Qin Dynasty 221 – 206 BC, over 700,000 workmen built the soldiers over the course of 38 years. One of the eight wonders of the world, and discovered in 1974 (by farmers drilling wells), only one soldier was found completely intact. There are approximately 6,000 to 8,000 soldiers and horses, and of those, 4,000 are still buried for preservation. Originally, the soldiers were very colorful, but after excavation the color disappeared. Each soldier has a different face and expression.
The soldiers were built to protect the emperor in his afterlife (in the earth, not the heavens). The emperor and his palace are still buried under a hill nearby completely preserved and undisturbed. They don’t have the technology currently to excavate the site and preserve it without destroying essential elements.