Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy

This is one exhibition on-going in the Asian Civilization Museum, with a normal admission fee of S$5.00.  Today is Singapore's National Day, so it is free!  Of course, I would take this opportunity to pay a visit to this exhibition.

The first impress:  The queue is really long!  There are sign boards outside the museum telling visitors the estimated wait time.  When I arrive at around 10:40am, the estimated wait time is 60 mins!  Ok, never mind, after my wait training at USA immigration and Malaysia immigration, 60 mins is now nothing.  We queue in line patiently, following the winding line in the waiting area.  There are actually three or four waiting stages, after you clear one, you proceed to the next stage to queue.  This is the longest wait I ever have in a Singapore museum.  Anyway, we are already lucky, as we arrive early.  By the time we leave, the queue is so long that many visitors have to waiting outside of the museum building, under the hot sun.

To be precise, this exhibition is not only about Qin Shihuang's terracotta, but all those funerary terracotta found in Qin & Western Han Dynasties.

I must say the terracotta are really beautiful.  They were made to such detail.  Look at this terracotta of an archer.  His facial expression is so vivid, just like a living person right in front of you.

And guess what, they even have the tracks under the shoes.  It is this kind of fine details we are talking about.

How about this soldier?

These terracotta is marvellous.  No wonder so many people flock to the museum to catch a glimpse of this magnificent piece of art.

In exhibition there are other interesting objects too.  Here is the tiger-shaped military tally.  We only see this in movies or TV dramas, but now it is there, right in front of your eyes.  Such a tiny object in the ancient days was the token to command thousands of troops, representing the command from the heavenly Emperor.

And this is the mold of the coins after Shi Huangdi united the whole China.

Another treasure on display is the bronze chariot from the Shi Huangdi's tomb.

The exhibition also includes archaeological discoveries from some Western Han Dynasty imperial tombs.  Some of the objects are just equally interesting and wonderful.

And Han Dynasty used pottery for the human body only, but cover them with real clothes.  Fabrics of the clothes rotted away over time, but the terracotta body was preserved.  That makes it also a bit amusing to look at.

These two are supposed to be two Han warriors.  The supposed wooden hands and their clothes are gone, only left with their clay bodies.  Notice their genitals?

Here are the horse-warriors.  The wooden horses are obviously long gone.  Their facial expressions are just, I must say, a bit exaggerating.

The most impressive one is the so-called Eunuch terracotta in the right of the picture below.  The male organ has been removed.  It is said to be a Eunuch terracotta by the experts, but I like to ask: How do you know whether he just lost his 'precious' over time?

Do you notice they use different color for male and female terracotta?  Brown for man, white for woman.

The exhibition is quite small, in the special exhibition gallery.  However, if you are interested in Chinese history and their achievements, it is a very worthwhile exhibition for you to pay a visit.  The benefit of a small exhibition is that you will not be overloaded by too much information being crammed into too short a time space.  You can take the time to read each single caption, spend some time standing right in front of the exhibit, walk around it, examining every single details of it, have a meaningful conversation with our ancestors thousands of years ago.  If you are looking for quantity, then it is not for you.  The total number of objects on display is not big.  You might get pretty disappointed.

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