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Xmas in China - Xi'an

Written on: Friday March 20th, 2009

A journal entry from: Japan

After Beijing, we travelled south to Xi'an. This was what I was looking forward to the most – the terracotta warriors of Xi'an. Discovered in 1974, the warriors are thousands of clay figures buried with the first Qin Emperor in 210 BCE. Previous emperors had been buried with slaves, who they expected to serve them in the afterlife. The Qin Emperor was not able to have human beings buried with him, so had had these figures created to form an army for himself in the afterlife. The figures include every rank and type of soldier that one would have found in a real-life army, including the horses, and every one has a unique face. I've wanted to see them since I first read about them when I was young, so I was, well, thrilled, to be there.


We also visited the nearby Longman grottos. The grottos are a series of Buddhist carvings in the rock of a hillside, done over the course of hundreds of years. They range in size from huge – maybe 5 times the height of an average person – to the absolutely tiny – a few centimetres.


The next day we went to the Wild Goose Pagoda, a well-known Buddhist pagoda, and the White Horse Temple. The White Horse Temple was interesting as it was the first Buddhist temple established in China. When one emperor decided he wanted to learn about this new religion from India, he invited two monks to come and live in China and transcribe Buddhist writings into Chinese. They arrived with a white horse carrying the manuscripts they brought, and the temple was established where they settled to live and work.