On June 13, we visited the Banpo archeological site, an ongoing archeological dig of an area of several Neolithic villages dating from 4500 BCE. With a village protection system of moats, an organized system of burying the dead, a large collection of pottery, hunting and farming tools, the site demonstrated the level of living conditions of the people in the village.
Entrance Excavated Residential area
Excavated Residential area Excavated Residential area
Tools: hunting and cooking
After our visit to Banpo, we visited the “official” terracotta duplication factory and lacquer furniture factory. The site of the mining of the clay for the original terracotta warriors is unique in quality, and so it has been restricted for use only to make copies of the terracotta statues in this particular factory. The factory makes copies of a variety of the terracotta statues in many different sizes from very small to original size. In addition, statues can be purchased painted or without paint. Finally, the factory store also sells lacquer furniture and artworks. As tempting as the various products were, we managed to leave everything in the store at the end of our tour!
Full-size copies Mold for small warrior copies
finishing a new cast Painted horses
After lunch, we drove out to the site of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, about 30 km from the center of Xi’an. The mausoleum was built for the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. “Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. … A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974.” (Wikipedia) This is a huge site with three separate archeological digs. Pit #1 is the location of the well photographed warriors and horses. It is enormous and boggles the mind to think about the huge amount of labor that was required to cast the life-sized warriors and horses and then bury them underground. One of the farmers (Mr. Yang) who discovered the site works for the museum on-site and autographs a picture book describing the site and how he and his fellow farmers discovered the site. Finnie bought a copy of the book and had the farmer sign it!
View of Lishan from Mausoleum entrance Some soldiers
“Hospital area (repair of statues) Chrome-plated weapon
Farmer Yang, one of the discoverers Finnie shaking Farmer Yang’s hand
High tech chariot Deb’s chariot
After visiting the Terracotta Warrior site, we visited another ancient site called the Huaqing Hot Springs. The springs have been used for over 6000 years and the site of a palace first built in the 11th century BC and added on to by subsequent emperors. A major addition was completed during the Tang dynasty by Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) for his concubine Yang Guifei. A large statue of Yang Guifei stands in the garden. It is a very beautiful area situated at the base of Mount LiShan. “It was the shelter of Empress Dowager Cixi after the Eight-Power Allied Force captured Peking in 1900, and was also the temporary residence of Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party during the world-famous Xian Incidence in 1936.” (Wikipedia) At the end of our time there, we relaxed by soaking our feet in the warm spring water – very refreshing!
Entrance Plaza at Hot Springs Chiang Kaishek Office
Bullet Hole from Xian Incident Chiang Kaishek bathroom
Foot bath trough Hair Wash Statue
On the evening of June 13, we were taken to a Muslim restaurant by a colleague of Finnie’s, who is the international education director at Xi’an University of Posts and Telecommunication. Wang HongLei and her son treated us to a delicious and filling dinner of mutton soup. HongLei gave us a beautiful gift of a carved jade cabbage. The jade is a local jade that is a milky white color.
We will continue this entry in 23c!