Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy

Last Saturday, the boy and I went on a date to the Asian Civilisations Museum. Specifically, we were there to see the terracotta warriors.

According to the official website:

The terracotta army buried near the tomb of the First Emperor of China is perhaps the most important archaeological discovery of our time. Unearthed in 1974 outside Xi’an, the thousands of pottery soldiers and horses are striking works of art that tell us a great deal about early China.

This exhibition features one hundred artefacts from Shaanxi province in China. Besides terracotta figures, the display contains important bronzes and jades from the Qin state before the time of the First Emperor, Shi Huangdi. The Han dynasty inherited the legacy of unified China, and charming terracotta figures from this later period show how the First Emperor’s tomb influenced later burials.

The exhibition highlights new interpretations and poses questions about what we really know of the remarkable terracotta army. Recent excavations have revealed a variety of objects, including painted warriors, acrobats meant to entertain the emperor, chariots and life-like birds. Many of these will be presented in the exhibition.

This is the first exhibition of the actual terracotta warriors to be held in Singapore, as well as the first presentation in Southeast Asia.

This exhibition is organised by the Asian Civilisations Museum, in partnership with the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau and the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, People’s Republic of China.

The best bit? I got to enter the museum free (educators has its priviledges!) while the boy only paid $4 which is 50% off the published rate of $8, thanks to the PAssion card.

At the entrance to the main hall, there were 2 replica terracotta warriors where you can attempt to ‘piece’ them back together.

Lovely touch! We couldn’t resist having a go at it too…

At the entrance to the galleries, there was an exhibition titled “Life After Death: An installation by Justin Lee“. It showcases ‘fairy-like maidens armed with modern technologies’.

I love the fairy with the laptop and the terracotta warriors with the headphones. Replicas in the form of piggybanks are sold at the museum shop so if you like, you can take home a piece of art too!

As expected of museums, the lights were turned down low and it added a certain mystery and charm to the entire experience.

Special mention goes to the specially-created iphone app for this exhibition.

At specific points in the exhibition, you can use the camera function on the iPhone or iPad 2 to view the warriors in 3D. They’re not just in 3D but they can move as well. Pretty darn cool, I say!

Here are some of the 3D warriors that ‘came alive’ whenever we pointed the camera at it. The warrior carrying the torch (bottom left picture) was coming out of the hole and when he got to the top, looked around, then went back into the hole. The warrior in the bottom right picture would walk towards the direction at which you tapped your finger.

In this 3D image, there were a group of terracotta warriors ‘marching’ across the screen.

It’s amazing how technology can enhance a museum visit. Static displays are no longer cool!

Here are the rest of the exhibition in pictures, starting with my favourite one of the Terracotta Boy:

Tee hee hee.

This is the first time that these actual terracotta warriors are in Southeast Asia so if you’re looking for something to do on a weekend or Friday evening (50% discount every Fridat 7-9pm!), go check it out.

More information can be found on the ACM website.



2 thoughts on “Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy

  1. Oh wow, the iPhone/3D stuff is pretty cool. Any idea which creative company curated the exhibits and all this interactive media? Impressive.

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