Thanks to my library card, I was able to visit the San Francisco Asian Art Museum without charge and to meet visiting terracotta warriors from China. The eight life-sized warriors and two horses there now are representative of the more than 7,000 clay warriors with horses and chariots that were designed to protect the First Emperor, Qin Shihuang, in the afterlife. Qin Shihuang had ascended to the throne at 13, unified seven warring kingdoms and proclaimed himself First Emperor. Discovered in 1974 in Shaanxi, China, by farmers digging a well, the First Emperor’s tomb complex is a parallel world meant to enable his rule after his death. In addition to the clay warriors, ongoing archaeological excavations have revealed a replica of the imperial life as the First Emperor knew it, including terracotta musicians, acrobats, officials and water birds of bronze. Signing up at the Information Desk for a guided tour of the exhibit, scheduled at noon and 2 p.m., helped to bring displayed artifacts together and create a picture of what life was like during the First Emperor’s reign.
The video clip below shows the unpacking and installation of the current China Terracotta Warriors exhibit, which runs through May 27, 2013. A Discover & Go pass to the Asian Art Museum admits two adults and children under 12. If you go, just remember to choose a date other than the first Sunday of the month, which is a free day at the Museum. One daughter who made the mistake of picking this month’s first Sunday said she was glad she had her pass and did not have to stand in line with the many, many people awaiting admission, but it was truly crowded inside. Have your library card ready and find out where else it may take you. Start here.