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Friday, February 25, 2011

Terracottah Warriors

It's an incredible story.

23 centuries back, an Emperor decides, at the age of 7, that when he is buried, he will be protected by an army of warriors, who will be buried with him.
Only, the warriors will be of fired clay, "terra-cottah".
And that, the facial characteristics of no two warriors will be the same: each will be a distinct individual.
Over the next forty years, 8,000 bigger-than-life size statues are fired in kilns, and each one is coloured beautifully.
There are horses, carriages, generals, and they are buried in tunnels around the tomb of the Emperor.
When the Emperor finally dies, the tomb is sealed, and so are the tunnels containing the terracota warriors, in 3rd Century BC. Oh yes, a final detail: there are rivers of mercury in the underground tunnels surrounding the tomb.
And also, the weapons the warriors have are real: and since they are chrome-plated (23 centuries before the discovery of chrome-plating by anyone else), the weapons will remain sharp, century after century, without rusting.
The tomb is discovered soon enough, but the soldiers lie buried for 23 centuries, till they are discovered in 1975.
The Emperor? Chinese, obviously, from the Qin Dynasty.

Well, two of those warriors are in Delhi, at the National Museum. For those of us who are not lucky enough to go to China, it is an awesome experience to come  face-to-face with the Terrocotta warriors. The link to the Exhibition timings etc is this (its on till March 20th):

Happy hunting!!

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