23 August, 2011

Xi'an City Tour (LOTS of pics!)

Today, it was a 'tour day' in that we would see many things, The City Wall and Drum Tower, local (an famous) Jade factory, the Terracotta Warrior Replica/Restoration (under licence) factory, the City Pagoda and then the Terracotta Warriors them selves before a Chinese Dinner and Show to finish the day off... It was a busy day!


We were only in the van for a little bit and we hit the typical Xian traffic, but not to long in it and we were at the City Wall & Drum Tower. It was a fascinating monument, and the only intact wall of its type in all of China! The Drum Towers as well were in excellent condition. We had a very good English speaking guide, who told us all about the history of the wall, and how it guarded the city. There was even some armament pieces along the top of the wall itself! We then headed into the Drum Tower, and we were told all about the Chines Feng Shui - it was very interesting indeed!

Drum Tower - City Wall Xi'an

Drum Tower - City Wall Xi'an

Armourment Drum Tower - City Wall Xi'an


A little further into the industrial area of Xian, we arrived at the Jade Factory where they do intricate carvings into statues, bangles, bowls and more... No matter what you can think of, they can do it here. An interesting fact, I at least, learnt is how to pick out fake jade from the real jade! I will now be testing it in the future! The lady here also told us the differing qualities of jade; its hardness, colour and translucency! I bought a little piece for someone...

Carving Jade - Xian


This was a very spiritual place, where our guide could only take us through a very small section given she was not of the Buddhist faith. But our guide here spoke lovely English and took us through the many areas within... It was both fascinating in its construction and in its material and landscaping. In one of the rooms we entered into, in is customary for the gentlemen to enter via the left foot whilst the ladies the right - and NOT to touch the entrance 'step' whilst stepping over! Now I almost always step with my right (being right handed) so I found this a little awkward! It was also OK to take photos of the Buddha, just not from inside... In another room, the walls were richly decorated telling the story of Buddha, and it was all done in natural coloured jade!!! It was beautiful... Even walking through the grounds, past the Monastery buildings, and the tombstones of the many elders within once passed... Finally, we were back at the van, with Melody waiting for us with the driver...

Pagoda - Xian

Buddha - Pagoda Xian

Buddhist Monastery - Xian

Buddhist Monastery - Xian

Paper Art Buddhist Monastery - Xian


When we arrived here, I was a little concerned for it being just a rip-off place for the real deal... But, I later found out that in fact, they were under licence to restore and manufacture pieces for the site! We were shown how the models were moulded, tidied up prior to firing... Then they showed us the life sized replicas actually taken from the real ones (using a mould) and displayed! They even do some restoration works as well! We were also shown around the ceramics area, and then into the furniture section, where exotic looking cabinets were deeply coloured and lacquered, and whilst NOT my taste, I can (now more so) appreciate the work that goes into them.. Finally, they also make to order here, 'seals' or stamps! You pick the animal from the year to which you were born (Monkey for me) and then you write your name for the man... He then translate it into Chinese characters and carves it into a stone, both in mirrored image AND in relief... So when you 'stamp' it, it is the right way!! I got mine done as did DW, so I will make a stamp and use it soon!!

Moulding Mini Warriors

Mini Warriors

Coloured Warrior

Life Sized Replicas

Carving my Seal


Firstly, this was to be our lunch spot prior to entering the Museum itself. We had a three dish meal, with rice, and a soup. The meals were great, hot (spice) but very tasty... J was learning still how to use chopsticks, but he relented (in the end) and got a fork/spoon - he DID try very hard though!!

After lunch, we entered into the Museum's shop, where "Lucky for you today, Mr Yang is here today - he's not often here, but very lucky for you..." Yeah right, I didn't come down in the last shower you know!! BUT, i still bought the book and got his signature in it... Gullible? ANYWAY, we got our tickets issued to us, and headed through the gates and onto the line to get driven across to the museum... It would've been a 20-30 minute walk otherwise! Once inside the Museum, it was VERY apparent... We had bought the wrong lens - we should have had the 50-500mm with us! Oh well, work with what we have...

I can not begin to tell you the actual size and scale of Pit No. 1, it is just MASSIVE! It is the larger of the 3 that are on display and words really can not give it justice... The pits are also very deep and the Warriors within them are simply inspiring... We were told, many times, to watch ourselves for both wallet pickers and scalpers trying to sell 'rip-off' statue sets... I had one guy ask, and I politely declined... I became firmer and firmer when he persisted... Others after that, I ignored as if I could not hear them... We walked around Pit No. 1 and we saw an archaeological group doing a study and working on an area in the middle. These areas are yet to be opened, but you can see where the walls of the pits are and the arching roof tops as well - there is still so much to do here!

We then headed into Pits No. 2 & 3, where the different levels of hierarchy were displayed. Pit No. 2 was more the Chariots and so on, and Pit No. 3 the Generals and Lieutenants! Again, these two pits were simply stunning, amazing, awesome and so on, but in the Pit No. 3, they also had some of the Warriors in glass cabinets for a closer examination. To have seen them when they came to Sydney earlier in the year was NOTHING to seeing them in the flesh, and I am so lucky and privileged to have seen them. I want to come back again and see them again, in my time and with my longer lens, as you could easily spend a day here instead of just a couple of hours that we had...

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 1

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 1

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 1

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 1 Archaeological Study Group

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 1

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 2

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 2

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 2

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 3

Terracotta Museum - Pit No. 3

Time was now, pardon the punn for where we are, marching on and we really needed to move on as we were going to have tea up in the Tea House! There was a vast array of different blends for different purposes... Now I was desperate for a coffee, but I still had a 'cuppa tea' - my flavour was a Lychee blend and it was lovely. The tealady told us about the way they are blended, she then washed the leaves and made us our tea. It had to brew for a specific timeframe, mine was slightly shorter for DW's, and true to form, it was delicious! I am very much a tea with milk and sugar, but this was simply black tea, NO sugar at all!

Tea House Teas

Tea Lady


Time was NOW marching on, and we needed to rush back into the city for the Chinese dinner/dumpling and the show before heading back to the hotel...

Chinese Dumpling Dinner

Sunshine Grand Theatre - Show

Hoo roo for now...



  1. When the Warriors in Sydney I was a little disappointed by the exhibition...Can't imagine what it would have been like...ALAS! ONE day I will also have the opportunity to visit...one day...

  2. indeed, TOO many great pics!!
    love the Buddha.

  3. Amazing things you saw, Mate! I can't imagine.


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