Saturday, November 30, 2013

Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty (Tomb of Emperor Jingdi): Mini Terracotta Warriors of Xi’An

My purpose of going to Xi’An was solely to see the widely-known Terracotta Warriors, I was only supposed to stay for two days but when someone told me about another interesting site in this city, I didn’t hesitate to add more day just to be able to visit it. The joy of traveling flexible. :) Even though there’s still one line of subway train as of writing, commuting to the tourist spots in Xi’An is designed to be very efficient with all the bus circling around all the possible tourist routes in the city. The trip to Hanyangling took almost 1.5 hours, but given the location of the site at Xianyang and the cost of only CNY 4 one way, this was certainly a good treat!

a display of sculptures at Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty

Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty (漢陽陵博物館 Hànyáng líng bówùguǎn), better known to the locals as Hanyangling, serves as the final resting place of the fifth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, Liu Qi, and his wife, Empress Wang. The tombs that were built in the year 153 AD are situated in Yang Ling County and cover an area of 20 square kilometers. The whole site presents brilliant relics, including the tombs of the royalties, huge number terracotta figurines of people and animals, and also pottery kilns and domestic pottery valuable for understanding the Chinese way of living during this time.

Same as with the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin, this discovery are also to be credited to the farmers who came digging for water, but instead found these artifacts during the late 1980s. 81 pits were found containing nearly 8,000 miniature terracotta sculptures to be “utilized” by the dead royalties in the afterlife that includes an army, servants, farm animals to be slaughtered for food, and different potteries.

The Ruins of the East Gate-Tower of the Emperor's Graveyard

The Underground Museum was built directly under one of the excavation sites in the area, and the museum floors are made of glass barriers just to separate the museum to the excavation area. The small statues and their chariots were placed in a battle formation, as if in a war protecting the emperor. Though the area was only softly lit to preserve these artifacts, it’s still enough to appreciate the amount of detail that has been hidden in the grounds for centuries.

we were required to wear plastic "shoes" to keep the glasses free from dirt
Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty

Yangling Mausoleum
mostly male figures neatly scattered in this pit
there were also some urns and vases still being displayed in the original pits
china statue warrior
remains of the broken figurines
kitchenware and domestic animals

the excavation work must be so painstakingly meticulous and time consuming, but to preserve something this precious, must be worth the effort!
terracotta warrior

so detailed - look at the difference in the face structures and they even have sexual organs, reminds me of Barbie and Ken
animals were also dug up - horses, cows, pigs, even as tiny as dogs and piglets
the terra cotta effigies are said to have worn colored silk clothing that have decayed as time passed, above is what they would have looked like before they were buried
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magnanimous collection of the restored potteries

I went to the Archeological Exhibition Hall afterwards, the odd thing was, half of the visitors skipped this area, or they probably did not know it existed since you need to take the golf cart ride to go here from the Burial Pit. In there, you would be able to see more of the figurines in a better lighting and presentation. In display were hundreds of armless and naked human figurines that are mostly between 55-60 centimeters in height.

It has been found out that they were once clothed in bright colored garments since some remains of cloth have been attached to their bodies. The circular holes near the shoulders could also testify that these figurines had arms before they were buried. The clothing and arms made of wood have decayed over time.  It was also interesting to note the details on the entire body of these mini sculptures, the pony tailed hair, eyes, nose, cheekbones, overall facial expressions and even sexual organs are in there and were made with great focus and attention. One curious thing is there were also female warriors included in the army, could it mean that the Emperor also had battle women during his reign? Overall, it must have been a spectacular sight to see them in their full glory and colored clothing!

they look like dolls
Yangling Mausoleum xian
the lighting make them look glorious and creepy at the same time
Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty

some that needs to be restored
legless figurines that are posed to be riding horses

Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty xian
Females in the army? Something that researchers are still finding out about

they even had animals as small as chickens! such a cool thing that they were able to see these tiny effigies during excavation!

so meticulous! must have been hard for those artisans who worked for this project

The different emotions of each soldier made me so curious

Some of the remaining colorful sculptures that have been preserved

Located nearby Xi’An’s airport, this could be one of your first stops in the city. I am really surprised that a site this world-class only gets very few visitors, but it definitely adds a certain charm to the place, where else in China can you enjoy going to an astounding relic site with the pleasure of not constantly bumping into tourists and being annoyed with the constant loudspeaker announcement from travel guides? This underrated but impressive archaeological treasure of China is definitely one of the things I truly enjoyed and I certainly recommend this as one of the reasons to visit Xi’An.

china travel xian
a picture during the excavation, how cool it would have been to be able to see something this great be unearthed in person

How to go to Tomb of Emperor Jingdi/Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty:
Take subway and get off at Shitsuguan (City Public Library) Station
Take tourist bus No.4, schedules below:
8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:00 and 17:00

Day 1: Datong
City Tour

Day 2: Datong
Yungang Grottoes

Hanging Monastery

Day 3: Pingyao
City Tour

Day 4: Pingyao
City Tour and Attractions

Day 5: Pingyao

Day 6: Xi'An
City Tour

Day 7: Xi'An
Yangling Mausoleum

Day 8: Xi'An
Terracotta Army

Day 9: Beijing
Qianmen Street/798 Art District

Day 10: Beijing

Forbidden City

Day 11: Beijing
Summer Palace

Day 12: Beijing
Great Wall

Railway Train Experience
Standing, Hard Seats, Sleepers

12 Day Trip
Itinerary & Budget

More of China here

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