Monday, September 04, 2006

Brilliant or crazy?

They say Emperor Qinshihuang, who united seven states to form a unified China, was crazy-brilliant if not borderline insane. Afterall, who could unite seven disparate nations into one -- with a shared script and currency. Who could conceive of building a Great Wall to span the border of a vast land for early warning and deterrence of enemies from afar.

..To add to the insane part, imagine the resources and planning to create sentinels for his own tomb, a force some 8,000 terracotta warriors strong, each with different facial features and hands, in battle formation to "guard" one's grave (...just about as effective as a great wall, I suppose.)

Constructed around 220 B.C. and discovered by a farmer digging a well in 1974 near Xi'an, about 75 km northwest of Beijing, this was one of the world's great archeological finds (and the excavation is ongoing).

These soldiers look rather impotent, don't you think? Well, an army without its 40,000+ weapons would be quite ineffectual. (Their weapons are housed at the Xi'an museum.)

(Alec, I thought of you in your archeology days, even though at that time you weren't yet a part of the family. I hope you enjoy these photos!)


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