For those blessed enough to have been to the original site of the first emperor of China’s Terracotta Warriors, the exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco might not hold as much magic as it does for others. Still, even for me (someone who has been lucky enough to visit the original), the exhibit was a taste of traveling without the plane ticket. If you’re in the United States and don’t have plans to visit China anytime soon, a trek to San Francisco would be well worth it to come face to face with one of China’s greatest relics.
A controversial character to say the least, Chin Shih Huang Ti (China’s first emperor) has long been one of my obsessions. He was a tyrant to many but none can deny his astonishing accomplishments of unifying fragmented and warring factions into one China- a task akin to say, uniting the now individual countries that were once the Soviet Union back into its original state. Obsessed with finding the elixir to immortality, Chin Shih Huang ordered the creation of these Terracotta Warriors- nearly 10,000 warriors and hundreds of chariots and horses, no two exactly alike. These were to protect him in his next life- a fitting extravagant “burial” for an extraordinary man.
These Warriors were discovered in 1974 by Chinese farmers and since then, the tombs have become one of the most sacred and infamous historical sites in the world. The current exhibition at the Asian Art Museum goes from February until May 27, 2013. If you’ve never visited the museum, don’t miss several floors of extensive art collections from all over Asia- as pictured here.