Thursday, February 21, 2013

China's Terracotta Warriors

Wednesday morning the Asian Art Museum held a press preview of their block-buster exhibit featuring the First Emperor's famous Terracotta Warriors opening this week.

The event began with the appearance of the Lost Warrior, the subject of the museum's social media campaign. He was led in by Moses Carver, the subject of a documentary about his life as a homeless man. I have no idea what this pairing means.

Museum Director Jay Xu led a tour through the show with manifest expertise, excitement & pride. The exhibit contains 8 life-size warriors plus 2 life-size horses. This represents the maximum of 10 life-size figures allowed by the Chinese government for any single exhibition outside China.

Museum visitors can get close up to the figures, with no barrier other than a low plinth, & it is easy to view them from all sides. The figures are both mass produced & individualized, & they have a forthright, courtly dignity.

Mr. Xu drew our attention particularly to this kneeling archer. Like ancient Greek statues, the terracotta figures were originally brightly painted, & traces of pigment are still visible on him. Mr. Xu also pointed out how his kneeling posture exposes the detail of the grip on the bottom of his shoe.

2 additional galleries contain more objects from burial excavations that show off the refined craftsmanship of the period.

The Lost Warrior hung around for the entire event, posing for pictures with equanimity. People addressed him in both Chinese & English, but he did not say much. There is special pricing for this exhibit, & advance tickets are recommended.

§ China's Terracotta Warriors
The First Emperor's Legacy
Asian Art Museum
Feb 22, 2013 - May 27, 2013

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