I found the “China’s Terracotta Warriors, The First Emperor’s Legacy” exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to be excellent and fascinating. It was well worth the extra money to have the recording device along with me and listen to the extra tidbits that came after the main presentations for the numbered pieces. I do not think for me it was so much about learning the history, which I indeed did learn new information about, but about being able to get another excellent chance to get up close and personal with the pieces and examine the patinations, workmanship, colors, craftsmanship and stylistic changes within the chronology of the Qin Dynastic Period that hit me.
I say, “again” as I had the great fortune back in 1999, when I was invited to consider doing my Ph.D. in Paleontology (a long story) at Beijing University (Peking University/Beijing Daxue) and was at one of the little museums on campus with my friend Dr. Sun, and one of the Terracota Warriors was free-standing there in the museum, with no ropes or barriers separating him from me. I asked Sun if I could touch it and examine it closely and he said, “Yes, it is okay”, so I started to do so. However, I was very abruptly snapped at by the ever-present guards, they are everywhere in China. However, Sun turned to the guard, and said something I did not understand, and the guard replied and did a 180 on his left heel and faced the wall. Sun then said, “It is okay, go ahead”! I was able to examine both visually and tactilely this Ancient portrait in clay of this warrior, to connect with this man after 2000 years was amazing. What, you may ask, did it feel like? It felt like very dry terra-cotta, as was to be expected, with a fine, but rough surface, and very solid, yet fragile and hollow. It was a great pleasure and honor.
So, back to the MIA exhibit, these people were truly amazing artisans, for example the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BCE) bronze short sword with the amazing openwork gold and turquoise inlaid hilt, the Jades and Bronzes, and of course the life-sized+ Terracotta warriors and Horses, one of the horses is so well made it even has a proper butt-hole – yes, really, a proper anus! The other horse does too, but not so, dare I say it, impressive and realistically portrayed! For me the most interesting part was the green face of the kneeling archer, which is speculated to possibly be designating him as a Shaman-Warrior. I have been studying the similarities of Mongol-Siberian and Native American Shamanism in my Explorers Club Expeditions in Mongolia (another story for later).
This exhibit will only tour to three cities in the USA, 1) Discovery Times Square, in New York City (which is finished), 2) Minneapolis at the MIA (October 28, 2012 – January 20, 2013) and 3) the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. (February 22, 2013 – May 27, 2013).
I do highly recommend going to this exhibit. See below for further information.
Here is the Minneapolis Institute of Arts website about the tour: http://www.artsmia.org/terracotta-warriors/preview.html
Here is the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco’s info: http://terracotta-warriors.asianart.org/exhibitions/terracotta-warriors
Enjoy, Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.
The image below was taken from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Website. It is of the Green Faced Kneeling Archer! Very cool!