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Post written by Hannah Ou '19:

Our second and last day in Xi'an was spent at the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum and the Muslim Quarter. We began our daily exploration with the Terracotta Warriors Museum, the spectacular mausoleum of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. This mausoleum consists of an estimated 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses made of clay, though around three quarters are still yet to be dug out and put on display. The pottery army was originally abundant in colors, however some have now lost these colors and turned grey, which are those that are on display in the three pits of the museum. Although constructed in ancient times, these clay warriors were only discovered very recently in 1974, when five farmers were digging a well and came across the head of a pottery warrior. Sissy, our tour guide, shared an interesting fact that especially stuck with me: so far there has only been one clay warrior that was found in its full form - the rest were found broken into pieces and had to be fixed for display. Another fact learned through Sissy was that the warriors have unique hair styles indicating different ranks and are placed in the pit based on this rank. It is very fascinating to think that what is now China's arguably largest historical attraction, as well as a relatively big boost to the nation's economic standing, was initially only intended to be a tomb for an emperor. This serves as an example of the strange and complex relationship of intentions versus outcome.

After exploring the three sites of the museum, we ventured out to the streets of the Muslim Quarter. Here, students were given a chunk of free time to roam around the countless shops and also to observe and experience the cultures of the Huis, a Chinese ethnicity consisting mostly of Muslims. The streets were immensely busy and packed with people - both local and foreign. The foods appeared to be consistent and repetitive throughout the streets, strongly emphasizing the tight culinary culture of the Huis. We got to experience a part of this culture by having a traditional Muslim dish, Yang Rou Pao Mo, for dinner, made with lamb broth and bread crumbs. I was intrigued by the fact that a very distinct and powerful culture exists in a nation with a culture just as unique; this whole idea of how diversity births cultures within cultures was strongly highlighted throughout our experience at the Muslim Quarter. With this, our short journey in Xi'an ends and SIAS University awaits us.

2 comments:

  1. Any sense of how the news of the US presidential election is being received in China?

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  2. Great read! This is one museum which I certainly want to visit before long.

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