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'Terra Cotta Warriors' exhibit in L.A.

May 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than a dozen Chinese terra cotta warriors crafted more than 2,000 years ago to protect their emperor in the afterlife have arrived in the United States with a very different mission: cultural ambassador. The Chinese terra cotta warriors are just as impressive, but when the Bowers Museum opens on May 18, it will be truly eye opening.

The exhibit showcases a hundred artifacts including 14 life-size warriors. The two-year U.S. tour starts in Los Angeles.

"When the Olympics were announced in Beijing we were wondering what we could do that would be better than anything we've done to date. We are looking at what is recognizable to the American public and there is nothing more recognizable except the Great Wall and we couldn't bring that, so there was the terra cotta soldiers," said museum President Peter Keller.

More than 2,000 years ago China's first emperor created the figures to protect him through eternity.

"Well you know when you come to the Bowers you will be face to face with a warrior, because we get very close. Obviously we have very high security as well," adds Keller.

Chinese farmers digging a well in 1974 discovered the site. A thousand warriors and other figures have been uncovered and there may be 7,000 more, no two alike.

"These are two of my favorite figures. They are actually archers. One is standing and one is kneeling," said Keller.

They call the warriors "the 8th wonder of the ancient world," but you really have to see the terra cotta warriors in person to truly appreciate them.

The "Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China's First Emperor" exhibit will be open through October 12.

 

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