Monday, July 18, 2011

XIAN: The Terra-Cotta Army in Pit Number 3

Pit 3 is the smallest of the three pits. It is beleived by experts to be a sort of command centre for the army groups in the other two pits.

The unearthed artifacts include 68 terra-cotta soldiers, four horses & a chariot. Some of the warriors do not have heads. Archaeologists speculated that at some later point in history vandals broke into this pit & deliberately destroyed the terra-cotta warriors.

It is amazing that various kinds of weaponry found in Pit 3 such as bronze spears, bronze swords, halberds, crossbows & arrowheads are well preserved. Despite being buried for more than 2,000 years the edges of these weapons are still sharp as in the past.

XIAN: The Terra-Cotta Army in Pit Number 2

Pit 2 of "L"-shape is smaller than Pit 1. It is still under excavation & archaeological study. It is thought to hold more warriors than Pit 1.

The four army group in Pit 2, that is, crossbowmen/archers, charioteers, calvarymen & foot-soldiers displayed more variety of posture & uniform than the characters in Pit 1.

A large number of the terra-cotta characters had been smashed & the broken figures make the scene look more like the aftermath of a battle.

The floor of Pit 2 shows signs of the rut made by the wheels of the chariots. Some of the terra-cotta soldiers excavated still displayed good conditions despite the long passage of time. Five of such exceptional figures are exhibited separately in glass show-cases along the walkway in Pit 2 for visitors to appreciate & view.

A kneeing archer.

A calvary-man with one hand holding the rein of his horse.

A standing archer. The bow & arrows had long disintegrated.

A middle-ranking officer of Qin Shihuangdi.

A general in the Qin army.

Friday, July 15, 2011

XIAN: The Terra-Cotta Army in Pit Number 1

This is Pit 1 where the terra-cotta army comprising cavalry-men, charioteers, chariot-soldiers, archers & cross-bow men, generals, horses, weapons & other implements of war etc were found. A hangar-like chamber has been built to facilitate further digging & research as well as for the convenient viewing by visitors & tourists. Pit 1 the largest of the three pits covers an area of 14.260 sq. metres.

The area now distinguished as Pit 1 was discovered in March 1974 by three villagers who were sinking a well. The news of this startling discovered soon spread like wild-fire throughout the world as it was one of 20th century's most legendary historical discovery. Its existence was not even mentioned as a myth or folk-tale.

The three farmers had discovered the 2,200 year-old remains of the life-sized terra-cotta army which had been buried with Qin Shihuangdi the first emperor who first united China. The terra-cotta warriors with their weapons, chariots, horses etc are found in what is now known as Pt 1.

Pit & the later discovered Pit 2 & 3 are located some 1.5 kilometre east of Qin Shihuangdi's mausoleum. It is widely believed that the terra-cotta army wereburied to guard the Emperor in his after life.

Before the discovery of the terra-cotta army by three farmers whilst digging a well in March 1974 there were no historical records pointing to the existence of terra-cotta army buried underground.

Why no earlier historical records? It is believed that in order to protect the secret Qin Shihuangdi had before his demise ordered that all those who worked on the terra-cotta project upon completion be killed & buried with the terra-cotta objects.

Archaeologists & other researchers speculated that some 700,000 workers were involved in the making of the terra-cotta warriors & other objects. Therefore wouldn't Qin Shihuang-ti be considered as the first mass murderer in history?

The warriors were not only life-sized, each of them bore different facial features. Therefore each of the warriors appeared to be modelled after real people living then.

The artisans were very skillful as evidence by the fine details of the moustaches, beards & the hair-style of the terra-cotta warriors & the authentic-like chariots & life-like horses & elephants etc.

Due to the ravages of time most of the non-metallic materials buried such as garments, leather armour, harnesses, bows & arrows etc had long disintegrated.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

THE LANDMARKS of XIAN: The Bell & Drum Towers

This is a view of the Drum Tower or Gu Lou approaching it from the east along the pedestrian walkway from the Bell Tower or Zhong Lou. Yours truly walking towards the night food market haven of Beiyuan Men Islamic Street one of Xian's night happening place where people milled around.

Yours truly was travelling alone from KL to Xian via Guangzhou by train. At Xian's Zhong Lou there were hordes of visiting shooting photos of the tower. There was indeed no problem getting someone to snap me with the tower. Indeed yours truly helped a couple of similar single travellers to take photos of them with the tower.
The Bell Tower (Zhong Lou) is the most iconic structure in Xian. For this reason it is the object of photo shoots by locals & visitors alike. Yours truly too
did a number of photo ops at this site both during the day & at night.

The Drum Tower (Gu Lou)derived its name from the huge drum located inside the tower. In contrast to the Bell Tower where the bell would be struck at dawn the drum would be beaten at sunset to indicate in the days long gone by the time to stop work & to rest. The entrance fee to enter the Drum Tower is RMB27 but to access both the Drum & Bell Towers the entrance is RMB40.

In front of the Drum Tower is the Drum Square, a popular place for the people to gather in the evenings. Behind the tower is Beiyuna Men street which is thronged with people at night as there are many eating shops & restaurants selling a variety of exotic food. This street marks the beginning of the Muslim Quarter. Most of the 30,000 or more Muslim Hui minority of Xian resides here. The Hui people are descended from Arab traders who since the eight century plied the Silk Route linking Chang-An or old Xian with Rome & the Middle East. The Hui minority look typically Han Chinese except that many of their men wear white Muslim skull caps whilst their women folk don a Muslim scarf.

The Drum Tower lies adjacent to the Bell Tower but it is not at the intersection of the four main streets. It lies along Xi Dajie. The tower was erected in 1380 in the early years of the Ming dynasty.

The Bell Tower is at the centre of Xian inner city surrounded on four rectangular sides by the city wall.

The Bell Tower lies at the intersection of North Main Street (Bei Dajie), South Main Street (Nan Dajie), East Main Street (Dong Dajie) & West Main Street (Xi Dajie).

The Bell Tower was constructed in 1384 during the early years of the Ming dynasty. Inside the Bell Tower are some large bronze bells from the Tang dynasty. The bells were used to tell the time.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Atria: Statue of the Lady with the jug standing at the front main entrance to the mall.
Atria: Statue of Lady holding a fish at the front main entrance of the mall.

Atria: Esquire Kitchen Chinese Restaurant.

Atria: The Centre Court.

Atria: KFC Fast Food Restaurant.

Atria: The Flea Market close to the centre court.

Atria: Nando's ChickenLand well-known for its Peri-Peri chicken.

Atria: Seri Penang Restaurant offering what is touted as original & authentic Penang food.

Atria: The Giant Supermarket the anchor tenant.

Atria: The Big Bookshop well-known for its year-round warehouse sale.

Atria: The Crown Carpets.

Atria: The Fresh Market.

Atria: Papa's Cafe.

Atria: Sweet Florist.

Atria: Speedy Video Shop.

Atria: Kedai Kopi Time.

Atria: Guardian Pharmacy.

Atria: Berry's Cake House.

Atria: Flea market stores selling trinkets, baubles, kitsch & trinkets.