KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
In 1974, peasants drilling a well discovered one of the most amazing and important discoveries of the 20th century. The Army of Terracotta Warriors lay in an underground vault for over two millennia, placed there to accompany Qin Shi Huang into the afterlife. They were meant to either guard him from vengeful spirits or to allow his rule to continue after death. Either way, the army has given archaeologists an insight into the world of ancient China.
There are over 7,000 soldiers and horses in battle formation. Unfortunately, the wooden chariots have disintegrated, but impressions of the wheels remain, along with the metal portions of the harnesses. Spears, swords, daggers and long-shafted weapons preserved with a coating of chromium oxide armed the battle figures. This rust proofing was developed in Germany in 1937 and later in America in 1957. The Chinese perfected the technique over 2200 years earlier. Astonishing!
Qin Shi Huang enslaved hundreds of thousands of people to work on his various construction projects but he is known for unifying China. The Lonely Planet reports that "he created an efficient centralized government, he standardized measurements, currency and most importantly, writing. He built over 6400km of new roads and canals and conquered six major kingdoms before turning 40."
On the journey to the sight of the Army of Terracotta Warriors, I began to have a queasy stomach. I put my "Travel Bands" on my wrists to relieve motion sickness, but still felt unwell. Shortly after viewing the Circlevision film on the history of the site and viewing Pits 3 and 2, I rushed to the nearest toilet and lost my McDonald's breakfast. It looked like salmonella poisoning had struck again. I was batting three for three. This was the third time I fell sick visiting a museum after eating eggs at breakfast. The first time was at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa, Canada, the second at the Museum in Macao and now the Terracotta Warriors in China.
Fortunately, I felt slightly better with an empty stomach and managed to see the largest collection of warriors in Pit 1 (the size of three football stadiums). The taxi ride back to Xi'an was a blur and I spent remainder of the afternoon in bed with a splitting headache. Anil, David and Jeong Ae returned at 5:00pm with stories of the great Korean lunch I missed. Oh, woe was me.