Sunday, April 19: This morning I’ve arranged to go on a tour to see the Terra Cotta Warriors, as well as a couple of other sites. Our guide is a young Chinese woman with the English name of Chelsea. As I generally dislike large group tours, I’m pleased that this group consists of only five of us: Dahlia and Mayan, a mother and daughter from Israel; Andrew, a British guy; and Mari, a Finnish lady who is living and working in Beihai. Our day starts as a rainy one, but we hop in a van and drive quite a distance outside of Xi’an. By the time we arrive at the Xi’an Art Ceramics & Lacquer Company, it’s stopped raining. We get to pose for pictures with our heads poking out of the terra-cotta warrior armor. 🙂
It turns out this is a state-run factory that’s been in operation since 1958. It reproduces terra-cotta warriors in sizes ranging from 4 inches to life-size, as well as a variety of ceramic figures, lacquered furniture, paper-cuts and silk hand-tied rugs. We are greeted by some of the life-size warriors.
One of the workers concentrates on carving details into the clay figures.
We find a group of headless warriors waiting to be brought to life.
Some of the warriors are kneeling. What’s interesting about these is that they are painted in colors resembling the original warriors. Later, when we go to see the actual Terra Cotta Warriors, we’ll find that their colors are no longer evident due to the passage of time and the exposure of the warriors to the atmosphere.
Our guide takes us outside to show us the kiln where the terra-cotta and other ceramic figures are fired.
The factory has all kinds of ceramic figures in addition to the warriors, including elegant Chinese ladies.
This woman is making some strange dragon/fish-like creature.
These large ceramic horses seem very vocal. I’ve always loved horses so am tempted to take one home. 🙂
I do consider buying one of these cool creatures, but I resist the urge. At least I have the picture!
I also like the Chinese lady figurines.
Of course, the terra-cotta warriors are the stars. It’s too bad the real warriors no longer have their coloring. I bet those would be even more amazing to see than they already are.
I don’t buy anything, but Andrew buys some warrior figures for his children and Mari buys a picture and a couple of other gifts. The two Israeli women are a little irritated because they made it clear to the hotel staff who arranged the tour that they didn’t want to stop at any souvenir shops, and yet here we are, right off the bat. I don’t like stopping at these kinds of places either, but they always seem to come as part of a tour. Onward to see the Terra Cotta Warriors!