On our last two stops in Xi’an we viewed two sites that, like China itself, had extensive meanings and symbolism that truly showed the history this country has to offer.
The first pieces of the Terra Cotta Warriors were found in 1974 by a group of farmers who were instructed to build a well after a severe drought. When a piece of pottery was first unearthed they experienced fear, one of the original farmers told us, as they thought it was a demon or a buddha idol which is considered sacred. The warriors were later discovered to spread underground throughout Xi’an and have been the protectors of the last emperor of the Qin Dynasty. These intricate works of pottery took over thirty years to complete and are arranged in battle positions with archers, infantry men, bronze horses and chariots, generals, and city officals. Archeologists have also unearthed bronze animals and intricate pots. The three pits we viewed contained whole warriors as well as unexcavated sites and pieces that have yet to be removed. The most amazing part of the warriors is their faces, as no two are alike. Each one is said to have been modeled after a warrior in the emperor’s army and has a different facial expression, eyes, and features. The whole sight is breathtaking and is the most amazing feat of architecture and art I have ever seen.
The second event that truly showed the extensive history of China, was the Tang Dynasty show in which performers danced and sang as though the were preforming for royalty. The show was filled with an array of colors and beautifully designed sets and costumes. For the duration of the performance it felt as though you had been transfered back in time. Only when the curtains came up and the banner welcoming us came down, did we realize that we had only traveled back in time through song and dance, and not in reality.
Both preformances expressed how Xi’an was a true reflection of China’s past, one filled with stories and characters that America’s history is sorely missing. Each city name has a meaning, whether it be “perpetual peace” or “western capital” and I think this is the difference between America and China. China has an intricate past and a solid foundation to build on while America does not have a distinct culture and identifiable personality making it harder for us, as a nation, to progress into the future.