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13 September 2011

Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and his Legacy

A few years ago several of the terracotta warriors together with various other artifacts and sculptures, originally discovered by some local farmers in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province in 1974 were brought, on a temporary exhibition, to the British Museum in London.  I jumped at the chance to visit this exhibition when I heard about it and can still remember the overwhelming awe I felt as I walked into the final part of this exhibition and came face to face with a selection of these warriors.  I cannot image what it must be like to see the complete collection in China, something I would love to have the opportunity to do.  Having read some retrospective information about the exhibition at the British Museum I gather this was one of their most successful exhibitions ever with visitors being turned away despite the museum extending the exhibition opening times.  I can completely believe how popular this must have been at the time.

So when I heard there was to be a similar exhibition at the Asian Civilisations museum in Singapore I was determined to revisit and see parts of this amazing collection again.  The exhibition in Singapore is refreshingly different in that on entering you immediately walk into a room displaying another art installation of contemporary pieces to complement the main display.  The installation was created by local artist, Justin Lee and is called 'Life After Death'.  Here you can see reproduction terracotta warriors adorned with everyday items from our modern world, headphones, laptops, stylish handbags and so on.

From here you then walk into the main display of beautiful warriors and artifacts.  There are a hundred exhibits on display and range from small pieces, that are believed to have been placed there to provide entertainment for the Emperor through to some of the warriors themselves.  I gather this is the first time that the actual terracotta warriors have been displayed in Singapore, so it's a must see whilst it is there.  The display was just as awe inspiring as when I saw the pieces in London.  It is one of those collections that really leaves you amazed at the work at the time that went into creating all the pieces.  The soldiers even have different hairstyles, making them look unique and just like real people.  They need to be seen to be fully appreciated.

The exhibition, 'Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and his Legacy' is on at the Asian Civilisations museum until 16 October 2011 and the entrance fee is $8.

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