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The Terracotta Army

And what an exhibition that was.

Amazing is one word that comes to mind. Crowded is another. Be prepared to jostle for space in front of exhibits. Impatient crowds (and I do mean ‘crowds’) subtly nudging you or sighing loudly if you dare spend too much time reading or looking at the intricacies. There are short films projected on the walls – so take a break when it gets too much.

Apart from the crowds, the collection of busts, utensils and the statues themselves are fantastic. The story behind the army is so amazing in itself – an underground city to protect the emperor in the after-life. Mind boggling in its scale, it bears a scary parallel to the Egyptian pyramids.

The warriors themselves are far fewer than one expects to see. There are chariots, warriors of different denominations (generals, archers, jugglers). An interesting display recounts how the statues may have been assembled. Each statue has a different hairstyle, probably done by hand.

The statues were once painted bright, bold colours, now faded to occasional splotches against the terracotta. To be confronted by an underground sea of brightly coloured soldiers and horses must have been scary for any intruder – can you imagine it?!

In all, it is an exhibition worth standing in a long queue for. If you’ve got a free morning, head over to the Museum. It’s not a chance you’re likely to get again – unless you head for China.

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