Saturday, January 10, 2009

The First Emperor and his Stoned Army

These pictures I coped off Google. The museum did not allow photography in this exhibit.

Yesterday we went to the High Museum to see the First Emperor, China’s Terracotta stoned Army.

Stoned Army – get it? Stick around I got more!

Actually they are not stoned, they are hardened clay.

The Terracotta Army have been in stance, spears drawn, cross-bows cocked, arrows aimed, ready to do battle for over 2100 years. Until recent times they were unknown . One day a Chinese farmer was digging a well and up comes a replica of a head. He told the authorities – this was in the 1970s, and they begin digging and found thousands of the Terracotta Army poised for battle.

They were/are guarding the first Emperor in his crypt. The guy was obsessed about death and not being able to govern all that he gained while he ruthlessly took in his small neighboring countries.

Throughout the exhibit it was mentioned that quality control was big. Foremen were accountable if whatever they were in charge of was not the best possible quality, so just about everything made had the foreman’s stamp or seal on it. And accountability could mean losing one’s head… so, I imagine quality stayed the highest.

The real live army, the ones that helped the emperor take over countries, had to show his superiors’ heads of the enemies that he just chopped off. His promotions and rank were based on the number of heads.

In a way, large organizations still work in almost the same manner, in a matter of speaking

The emperor had about a thousand workers, in assembly-line fashion, construct the thousands men of the Terracotta Army. I wonder if such details as the cooks and latrine brigade was also created for clay?

This exhibit only had about eight figures. Each figure is over six foot tall and look very imposing or intimidating. I can see how they might “scare” off the enemy that came to harm the first emperor. … but how can you harm a dead man? He was afraid for them to try anyway.

Another thing they did, was redirect an underground river to flow through the emperor’s tomb to give it a pleasant park-like setting… with clay water fowls and musicians.

But how in the world did they, over 2100 years ago redirect an underground river? I am not ever sure we have the know-how to do that today.

Back to the assembly line creating the parts: I think one little group would make the arms, another the legs, another the torso, and so on. Strangely, everyone of them looked like a different individual, even if they came from the same cast or mold… the trick was in the facial hair, head hair, and the magic of widening a nose slightly with the soft clay before it hardened, or putting a smile or smirk on some, frowns on others, and so on. Each one looked like a thinking individual.

Think Mr. Potato Head.

The lifeless life-like warriors were like having a virtual army around the emperor at all times. He could sleep peacefully….. or lie dead peacefully.

Then I came home and to relax myself form battling the I-75 northbound traffic out of Atlanta I played my virtual pool game on the computer and I noticed the game was produced by TERRA.COM.

Then, suddenly, everything made sense.

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Blogger kenju said...

I remember when those photos first came out in National Geographic. It was and still is unbelievable to me that they had the wherewithal and technology to do all that so long ago.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Si's blog said...

All y'all do neat stuff down there. This exhibit is not coming to Exmore.

Fascinating what junk people in power do that we know today is dumb. What are our powerful doing that in a bit will be equally stupid? I can venture a few ideas.

6:17 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Primitive technology confounds me to no end.

Hey! We also have the King Tut exhibit visiting in Atlanta which we plan to visit ... as soon as we can figure out how to slip in.... hmmm.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

It sounds like your visit to the High Museum was great, you are getting all cultured up, huh? Thanks again for the quilt pictures.

5:35 AM  
Blogger ET said...

You are welcome. I just wish they were sharper.
I don't know about "all cultured up" - maybe "all shook up"....

5:55 AM  

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