28 January 2011


After Beijing we headed west to Xi'an, an ancient capital of China at the eastern end of the Silk Road and now most famous for its terracotta warriors. Each statue is unique and larger than life size -- Daniel doesn't quite measure up.The terracotta sculptures from 210 BC depict the armies of Quin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. About 8000 warriors are estimated to be here, and we were impressed by how much is yet to be excavated.
Xian's city wall is the oldest and best preserved in China. First construction was 194 BC, although the current city wall was started by the Ming Dynasty in 1370, almost 14 km around and 12 m high. We wobbled around the wall on bikes, admiring the spring festival decorations. The caption reads "White Glazed Porcelain Pillow with Dark Design of a Beauty" -- beauty not comfort. Prosperity is a theme for the upcoming Chinese lunar new year, so Starbucks offers up green tea as well as espresso tea lattes. Longevity is also a big theme in China, especially for the new year Spring Festival celebration, and traditional Chinese calligraphy is a fine art form in Xi'an. It's working for this artist who was eager to explain his one-stroke creation.