One of my 12 for 12 things to do is to visit more museums this year (and it’s only February and I’ve already been to two!). While going to a museum just to look at artwork isn’t anything that really rocks my world (unless I happen to be in Paris or Florence, which is totally different), I do like to check out special exhibits every once in awhile. Especially if they’re out of town and I can get a little trip out of the deal.
This exhibit happened to be in Santa Ana, and since my relatives live close by, my mom and I combined it with a family visit. So while this wasn’t an exciting weekend trip, we did score some brownie points with the family and we got to see something interesting.
The Terracotta Warriors are part of the Terracotta Army discovered in the 1970s in China. Emperor Qin Shi Huang was buried with thousands of terracotta figures who would accompany him to the afterlife. There were archers and horsemen (and horses) and chariots and entertainers. And every single one was unique. The exhibit itself is small, and there are only a few of the life sized warriors. Originally, they were painted and held weapons. This archer was my favorite:
Imagine row after row after row of these guys, as well as horsemen and other figures.
It’s unknown exactly how many figures made up the army, but one estimate puts it around 8000. 8000! Holy crap! Think of the man-hours involved, as well as the land needed to surround the Emperor’s mausoleum with these guys (and gals…there’s some speculation that there were a few women in there).
While this was, hands down, my favorite part of the exhibit, there were also a few rooms filled with smaller funerary objects from the Han and Tang dynasties, as well as objects from the Famen Monastery. There was a set of boxes that once held a sacred relic…one of Buddha’s finger bones. The finger bone wasn’t included.
This Medicine Buddha was also part of the exhibit. Meditating upon Medicine Buddhas is said to result in an increase in healing powers and a decrease in physical and mental suffering. I think he looks very serene.