China Beat Archive



Xia Shi

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August 3, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright August 3, 2008 Xia Shi. Used by permission.


About twenty terracotta figures are currently on display at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, California in an exhibit scheduled from May 18 through October 12. Later, the exhibit, including statues of ten warriors, court officials, an acrobat, a bare-chested strongman, musicians, a stable boy, chariot horses and bronze water birds, will make stops in Atlanta, Houston, and Washington, D.C. It is said that this exhibit not only includes pieces of the highest quality, but is also the largest collection of the figures ever to leave China.

“As China gears up for the 2008 Olympics, it’s a debut timed to the Beijing Olympics that was millions of dollars and four years in the making,” says Peter Keller, Bowers president. Last year, a similar exhibit attracted 500 people per hour at the British Museum. At the Bowers, there are about 250 visitors per hour, according to staff.

The Underground World - Life-sized, over two thousand years old, but only unearthed since 1974, these soldiers are generally believed to be the guardians of the mausoleum of China’s first emperor—Qin Shi Huang (r. 246-210 B.C.), which is located in Lintong, Shanxi province. The terracotta army has been regarded as one of the grandest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century and is ranked as the Eighth Wonder of the World.