After the Great Wall, perhaps the best known sight in China are the Army of Terracotta Warriors near Xi'an. Discovered by accident when farmers wanted to dig a well back in 1974, it has now expanded considerably, especially since China opened up to tourism. All around the site, a huge Chinese crowd has landed which tries to sell anything that could possibly be sold to a tourist. The village will never be the innocent little peasant place again. Still, I thought the visit was extremely interesting and perhaps the highlight of my visit to China.
After 1974, more discoveries have been made, and there are now several displays of terracotta warriors, as well as a newer display of two chariots uncovered in a very desintegrated state, and restored beautifully. The restoration process can be seen clearly in a computer, with pictures and video which should make anyone admire the job that was done. But for me the large army, consisting of some 6,000 warriors was the best sight of all. All these warriors have their own rank in the army, their own expression, and they even held original and well preserved weapons (these cannot be seen by the public, though, as they have been stored away). Just to think that these figures were all carefully made around 2,000 years ago, and were originally even painted in beautiful colours (some reconstructions of possible colours can be seen), instills a great admiration in anyone.
But admiration also flows to those restoring these sites. In some recent excavations, the bad state of the warriors can be seen, and it can be appreciated that the task to repair all the damages of 2,000 years of is fabulous.
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