Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trips: Bowers Museum

I have finally reached my 100th post! I've been remiss and I haven't been updating all my blogs this past week because I was too excited reading the rest of the Twilight Series. I finally went ahead and reviewed Twilight, the best book of the four.

That aside, we finally went to see the Chinese Terra Cotta Warriors at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California.

When I saw the documentary about said Terra Cotta Warriors on the Discovery Channel a few years ago, I was entranced. Imagine, hundreds of terra cotta warriors guarding the tomb of the first Emperor of China? That would be something worth seeing! Unfortunately, the whole shebang is in Xi'an, China so I knew that it would take years for me to see it.

Fortunately, the Bowers Museum is currently having an exhibit of the Terra Cotta Warriors straight from China. There are about 20 life-sized figures for the exhibit and a slew of artifacts from the site. Unfortunately, no photography of any kind was allowed (I also knew about this one in the Discovery Channel documentary because the Chinese consider the warriors as sacred).

The Terra Cotta Army are also known as the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China. These figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by several local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China while digging a water well in March 1974. The figures vary in height (183–195cm - 6ft–6ft 5in), according to their role, the tallest being the Generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits. These figures used to be exquisitely painted and some of them still have evidence of the fact. What's more, these figures are made with exquisite detail and no two terra cotta soldiers are the same. At the height of their glory, these warriors used to wield real weapons but raiders and looters have long since removed them.

Seeing the Terra Cotta Wariors Exhibit at the Bower's Museum is pretty expensive. With weekday rates at $25 and weekend rates at $27. Fortunately, the museum has free admission for up to 100 visitors per hour at 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00 pm every Friday. Naturally, we grabbed that opportunity and started lining up at 3:00 PM. I was pretty disappointed with the exhibit though because it wasn't as good as I had imagined it to be. There was an audio tour though, which made the experience entertaining. You see, we were given a hand held remote control thingy where you can just press a number coinciding to the number of the exhibit and you will hear a brief description about it. This one is pretty handy because you can pick whichever object/warrior to see first and not follow an organized tour of the whole exhibit.

Terra Cotta Warrior
Photo shot by my mom.

I was able to snag a photo with a replica of a Terra Cotta Warrior displayed in the museum hallway. All in all I give the experience three stars.

Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706
Images: Bowers Museum & Wikipedia
Info: Wikipedia