In October, I took advantage of going home anyway to visit the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at Liverpool Museum (which is now called the World Museum for reasons I do not understand. I mean the one next to the Walker Art Gallery).
It was really good. They did a really good job of setting the Qin Emperor in context, admittedly, tidied up for international consumption, but still context, and why he was so important. And why he was the sort of person who was buried with 8000 odd terracotta soldiers.
(I feel I need to add that we were encouraged to take photos, provided we had flashes turned off. If they’d told me earlier I would have brought my camera, but instead I had to use my phone.)
These horses are up to something
The warriors themselves come in a variety of different poses, to represent different parts of the Emperor’s army.
There are figures of infantry generals –
Lower ranking infantry officers – And plain infantry men – As you can see in the background, the warriors were originally painted, and had glorious uniforms.
Outside the exhibition, there was an example of what they think the General’s looked like in full colour.
This one is a chariot warrior, minus his spear –
Chariot driver – A kneeling archer –
and a standing archer –
Probably my favourite not-actually-an-artefact was the “how the warriors were made” diorama that ran along the wall opposite where the individual warriors were placed. It was very stylised but I did like the foreman figure going “argh! You’ve dropped one of the heads!!!” Which was remarkably clear given they were stylised blank-featured figures.
There were also really interesting artefacts from the grave of a later emperor. I promise that once I’ve found the exhibition guide book, I will update this with the name of the Emperor in question.
Some of these warriors had movable arms, but they were made of wood and therefore lost to history –
Also, a menagerie –
There was a very interesting bit that dealt with how little we know about the history of the time. For instance; it wasn’t clear whether this Emperor had smaller grave goods because he wasn’t as powerful as the First Emperor, or because by then fashion and faith had changed so you didn’t need life-sized grave figures.
I was lucky enough to visit after the Golden Horse of Maoling was put on show.
The Horse was the last major exhibit of the exhibition, and led into the last room. I shall leave that as a mystery, in case a similar exhibition is put on near anyone else and they get the chance to go.