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04/10/17 - Terracotta Warriors at the Pacific Science Center

On our way back from Walla Walla we spent a night in Seattle and went to see the Terracotta Warriors show at the Pacific Science Center. The science center has had a number of great traveling shows lately including a collection of Tutankhamun's treasures and artifacts from Pompeii. This showing of the terracotta army of the first Chinese emperor was compact and wonderfully curated.

The warriors were discovered in the 1970s, and since then the excavation has turned into a large scale archeological project with thousands of full sized clay warriors, hundreds of clay horses and countless other artifacts buried to accompany the Qin emperor in his afterlife. It wasn't just warriors but musicians, craftsmen and personal goods. Like the pharaohs, the emperor was not going to trust the gods to provide. He would be buried with everything he might ever need to reign eternally after death.

The show made excellent use of lighting and projection giving a sense of how the warriors would have appeared when buried as opposed to how they appear now. One of our favorite pieces was a set of terracotta miniatures showing how the warriors and horses were formed and assembled. Usually, we try to get home from Walla Walla in one long drive and wind up getting stuck in Tacoma. Stopping in Seattle meant an easier drive, but, even better, seeing a first class exhibit.

One of the figures

These weren't just stylized forms, but true portraits

Man and horse

How it was done

Making terracotta horses

Another figure

Fascinating artifacts

A figure now ...

... and as originally painted

Keywords: art, science