Ter­ra­cotta War­riors Chicago-bound

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By HEZI JIANG in Chicago hez­i­jiang@chindai­lyusa.com

A ter­ra­cotta gen­eral is re­turn­ing to Chicago af­ter 35 years with new troops: an in­fantry­man, a kneel­ing archer, an ar­mored stand­ing archer, an ar­mored char­i­o­teer, a cav­al­ry­man, a civil of­fi­cial, an acro­bat, a stable­man and a horse.

The 10 an­cient clay fig­ures will be fea­tured at the Field Mu­seum’s com­ing ex­hi­bi­tion China’s First Em­peror and His Ter­ra­cotta War­riors from March 2016 to Jan­uary 2017.

More than 160 ter­ra­cotta ob­jects, made of bronze, jade, ce­ramic and stone, also will be shown at the ex­hi­bi­tion to il­lus­trate the story of the War­ring States pe­riod and the tale of Qin Shi Huang, first em­peror of a uni­fied China.

In­ter­ac­tive me­dia, in­clud­ing video, large-scale graph­ics and touch walls, also will be part of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

“It’s not a pe­riod that we’ve been com­monly taught in our school sys­tem, al­though I think many of our el­e­men­tary schools are now in­clud­ing an­cient China in the an­cient civ­i­liza­tions curriculum,” Deb­o­rah Bekken, ad­junct cu­ra­tor, told China Daily.

“We are hop­ing that peo­ple will come away from the ex­hi­bi­tion with more ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Chi­nese history,” she said.

The Field Mu­seum be­gan plan­ning the war­riors’ re­turn with the Shaanxi Cul­tural Her­itage Pro­mo­tion Cen­ter five years ago, ac­cord­ing to the con­tent team, which hand­picked all the ar­ti­facts for the ex­hi­bi­tion.

“We got some unique pieces that are not even on dis­play at the mu­se­ums in Shaanxi,” said Zhang Lu, a re­searcher on the con­tent team.

The Ter­ra­cotta War­riors and horses, which date back more than 2,200 years, are life-sized clay sculp­tures that were buried with the first em­peror of China to pro­tect him in his af­ter­life. The fig­ures were dis­cov­ered by farm­ers out­side of Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince, in 1974 while they were sink­ing a well.

Six of the es­ti­mated 8,000 fig­ures en­tombed in Shaanxi made their first trip to Chicago in 1980 as part of a broader show about China at the Field Mu­seum. The same gen­eral was one of them.

The Ter­ra­cotta Army also was dis­played at the Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Mu­seum in Wash­ing­ton in 2009, and at the In­di­anapo­lis Chil­dren’s Mu­seum in 2014.

“The Ter­ra­cotta Army was one of the most im­por­tant arche­o­log­i­cal sites dis­cov­ered dur­ing the 20th cen­tury. It’s so unique,” Bekken said.

The Field Mu­seum is also home to the Cyrus Tang Hall of China, a 350-ar­ti­fact per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion that opened in June. It is the largest Amer­i­can ex­hi­bi­tion on Chi­nese history and cul­ture from an an­thro­po­log­i­cal per­spec­tive.

The mu­seum has col­lected 33,000 ob­jects from China since the early 1900s, start­ing with Berthold Laufer, Amer­ica’s first si­nol­o­gist and cu­ra­tor of an­thro­pol­ogy. It is also the home to the body of Su Lin, the first panda that was ever kept out­side of China.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Mil­i­tary gen­eral: At 6-foot-4, gen­er­als are among the tallest fig­ures in the Ter­ra­cotta Army. This gen­eral is wear­ing ar­mor adorned with rib­bons. A hole un­der his left arm was likely for a scab­bard, from which he could draw a sword us­ing his right hand. Kneel­ing archer: One of the guardians of the First Em­peror of Qin’s tomb, this archer likely would have been hold­ing a cross­bow. Paint residues on his back sug­gest that his ar­mor was orig­i­nally bright red.

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