They stand, formidable in their silence, many with missing limbs and crushed bodies from their battle with time, staring stonily forwards in their endless procession in the pit.
It was quite disconcerting really. The warriors spread out in front of me, row after row, the army of Emperor Qin Shihuang, perfectly in formation in their eternal prison, staring into space. I felt a sense of awe when gazing upon the stone protectors for the Emperor in his afterlife; if alive, they would certainly provide him with the power to conquer any enemies- except, of course, the inevitability of death itself. They have no power to protect one from that.
There are nearly 8000 warriors with horses and chariots in various different pits. The most magnificent of the chariots now stand in the museums rather than in the open, but there are still plenty to see. The most obvious declaration of power from the emperor is his enormous statue that stands in the courtyard, towering over the buildings. His power stemmed from the fact that he united the warring states of Asia that became China under his rule, and his legacy of the terracotta warriors represents his determination to complete the quest for eternal life which was supposedly one of his greatest ambitions. Not surprising, really- if one had endless power and armies at one’s disposal, you wouldn’t really be in any hurry to give it up!
The Bingmayong (terracotta warriors) are certainly a sight worth seeing. The history surrounding these warriors is intriguing and delves deep into the history of China itself. They are situated in the plains near Xi’an which is the capital of the Shanxi Province at the centre of the country, and was the eastern end of the Silk Road when in use.