Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Homecoming – Xi’an and Terracotta Soldiers – Part 4

Click here for Part 3.
After the city of Beijing, our next stop was Xi’an.  After a 1-1/2 hour flight, we arrived into a city that was some 300 miles from the Gobi Desert.  This factoid was according to our tour guide named Yang, so I can’t guarantee its accuracy.  How could I possibly forget this piece of trivia when I was this close to the Gobi Desert for the first time in my life?

It is a beautiful city.  I imagined how I would live in such a place, with such architectural structures surrounding me on a daily basis.  Stepping out of my home, I’d merely look up and see history on just about every turn.  It is a magnificent city.

But for all of its appeal, Xi’an’s greatest appeal is the Terracotta Soldiers.

It was a sight to behold with my own eyes.

Not a single soldier was the same. 

I was in complete awe to be standing there witnessing this, when Zen Master took this photo.   Hence the spaced-out look on my face.

The Emperor of the Qin Dynasty was buried in terracotta.  And let me throw out a few more factoids offered by Yang.

Emperor Huang was 13 years old when he came into the throne.  There were 7 feudal states at this time, with different currencies and different leaders.  At the age of 22, the Emperor started a fight between the other 6 states, and by the age of 40, he conquered them all.  He had standardized the currency and language throughout the land, and built the Great Wall. 

Emperor Huang was one of the most important emperors in the history of China.  He had built more than 700 palaces and possessed more than 3,000 concubines. 

At the old age of 52 years old, Emperor Huang passed away.  His funeral was a 3-day affair, and ultimately buried with him were 160 scholars, many childless concubines and servants.  Tour guide Yang said that the scholars, concubines and servants were all buried alive.

And to guard the Emperor for all eternity were 7,000 soldiers, numerous carriages and horses, all made of terracotta.

Utterly amazing.


Immediately after this, our tour group went to lunch at the restaurant within the museum and the food was phenomenal!  We watched as our noodle dishes were freshly made right before our eyes.   Here’s a video made by Chefs Without Borders – La Mian Chinese Hand-Made Noodles –  who had the pleasure of experiencing what we saw and tasted during our lunch.  I was Googling for something that came close to what happened during our lunch and found this.

The overall adventure in this city was fascinating.  But I have to admit that the air was quite smoggy.  Sometimes I wondered if the Gobi Desert was also partly responsible for the dust that seemed to linger in the air around the city.  Towards the end of our two-day stay, Zen Mum and I had developed a cough that consumed us.  We were almost at wits’ end by the time we left, our coughing was so fierce. 

But you know what?  I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  I loved that city.


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