warriors of immortality
The National Gallery of Victoria has just announced a visit by the terracotta warriors from Xian, China.
Eight full sized warriors, two horses and over 150 artefacts from the tomb of the First Emperor will grace the shores of Australia for five months. It has been some time since Australia has welcomed the warriors - discovered in 1974 in Shaanxi Province. The story of their discovery is a fairytale in itself. Read more here.
The First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors have always been of interest to students in my ancient history class. They are fascinated by the ideas of immortality, wealth and power that the tomb embodies. Archaeologists believed that the emperor ingested mercury as a way to achieve immortality, but it is more than likely to have caused his death. Before he departed though, he created his grand tomb, which most certainly has been successful in achieving immortality in terms of fame. There is no doubt that the tomb is one of the major archaeological discoveries of the millenia and it is great that we get that chance to see the warriors up close.
Chinese archaeologists are waging an ever frantic battle with time to preserve the warriors and horses. Ever since the tomb was exposed to the air as a result of their discovery, the colour has faded and the site has been exposed to all the vagarities of the weather and pollution. This is where technology and archaeology form a formidable partnership.
Understandably, China does not allow large number of the warriors to travel. So get in quick for your chance to see them.
In conjunction with the warriors, there will also be an exhibition by Cai Guo-Qiang. The idea is to show the millennia of art, history and story that is China.