Friday, April 15, 2011

Terra-Cotta Soldiers

I was excited to be able to visit the site of the terra-cotta soldiers near Xi'an, China last week.  Some of the museum displays were closed the day I visited, but the major exhibits were open.  They did not disappoint.
The soldiers are fascinating on many levels.  For one thing, they are an art form of their own.  They are life size with tremendous detail.  Heads, hands and legs were made separately.

Some are in armor, some are in robes.  There are infantry and cavalry soldiers.  There are standing archers and kneeling archers.  There are officers and regular soldiers.

The heads are each unique individuals.  The different hats and topknots designate people from different people groups of the time.


In these pictures you can see that each soldier has a different facial expression.  Some look pleasant and happy - others more serious or even unhappy.

What was most surprising is the size of the army.  In the picture above, there are more than ninety soldier in just the first three rows.  The official count is over 6,000 warriors.  This would have been a considerable military force - had they been real soldiers.


But, in fact these were just clay.  Emperor Qin began the construction of his tomb and these soldiers soon after he became emperor at age thirteen.  Preparations were not yet complete when he died about forty years later - in spite of a conscripted work force of over 700,000 real people.  In spite of all of his efforts, neither his vast human army, nor his large clay army could help the Emperor when he faced death.
(Psalms 20:6–8 NKJV)  Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
8 They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright.

1 comment:

Bobbi said...

WOW...I had no idea there were THAT many...Thanks for the perspective...both literal and spiritual.