Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Things To Do: Terra Cotta Warriors

Okay I'll admit I'm a nerd and try my hardest to find the most interesting things-to-do in DC, whether it's a restaurant, gallery opening, unique tours, anything that's different from the norm, I'm down to try.

A few weeks ago, I heard about an exhibit at the National Geographic's Museum called Terra Cotta Warriors.  Me being a somewhat history buff, I did some research about these life-size 2,000 year old statues that were buried with the first emperor of China.  I was determined to go to see it before it left DC and made it way around the country.  Initially, I figured I'd probably go  one day after work and check it out by myself.  Surprisingly, my ex called me and invited me to go to an exhibition and it happened to be this one, but it was sold out (and is still sold out every weekend through February).  I ended up buying 2 tickets as well as a coffee table book about the history and giving them to him for his birthday which was the next week.  Of course, I knew he'd take me so it was a win-win.

I'll admit, I've passed by the National Geographic office building several times but never realized it contained a museum until recently.  So we arrived to the exhibit a little early and the docent suggested we stop by another photography exhibit instead of waiting in the cold.  I'm glad we took her up on the offer because they were some very interesting photos taken in an island called South Georgia that is known for it's beautiful scenery and a habitat of penguins and seals.  It's free to see the photos, so if you're ever in the area I'd recommend it.

After that, we walked back over to the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit, picked up our audio tour and began our journey.  We were told the history of the first Emperor of China who ruled in something like 200 BC.  When he died they buried him in a huge complex and surrounded him with over 6,000 life-size terra cotta figures to protect him into the afterlife.  As of now, they've only uncovered about 1,000 of the 6,000.  Apparently the US government is financing this project.  The figures weren't found until the late 1970s when 2 farmers were digging.  I found the exhibit to be very similar to the Egyptians and their building of pyramids and burying statues of servants, priests, doctors, etc to protect to King Tut once he'd died.  (Many of the statues can be seen at The Egyptian Museum in Cairo. I had a chance to see them last October.)

At the exhibit they had about 20 of the actual warriors they'd been able to reconstruct.  It was amazing to see the details in the facial features, their clothing and their stances.  Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photos along the way but it makes sense.  At the end, I did have a chance to pose with a replica, so I was happy.

In doing my research, I found out National Geographic offers FREE tours every Wednesday for their 6:00PM show.  You must arrive by 5:30 and can receive 2 tickets per person.  If you're interested why not try something different, especially if you're on a budget.  Click here for more info about the free tickets.

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