One post ago, we mentioned anticlimactic holiday experiences and now we can actually describe one of them: the Terracotta Warriors. There was no wow factor, there were no goosebumps and all we saw was everything we have seen in documentaries and pictures previously. There had been an exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, in 2010/2011, of the Warriors that we went to see and were so utterly fascinated and impressed that we would imagine seeing hundreds and thousands of them lined side by side would be mind-blowing. It partly made us more keen to visit China! But it wasn’t to be…
It probably didn’t help that we were in a warehouse, walking with hordes of other people around the “pit” where all the warriors stood! We won’t deny what incredible workmanship went into carving and painting each warrior: individual features, expressions and even sizes! The level of detail and thought put in is unbelievable however the ambience did not lend itself to allow a sense of wonder! So another lesson we learnt through our travels: Do not have any expectations and then you will NOT get disappointed. We actually thought we had come with little expectations but obviously we still had some!
To be fair though, the other things we experienced in China seemed more exciting possibly because we didn’t know what to expect. For example, we visited Ping Yao which we had never even heard of.
To visit Ping Yao is to visit an ancient Chinese city. It is so well preserved and still a walled city. Upon entering the gates, it seriously feels like we have stepped back in time. A time where kung fu happened on the streets and ninjas are running across roof tops – there is a strong possibility that image was heavily influenced by Hollywood and Chinese Kung Fu movies! Here we visited China’s first private bank and a Taoist temple, walked the city wall and watched artists in the lacquer museum. We even stayed at a hotel that was, although modern and comfortable, completely decked out to appear authentic. The decor and courtyards set the mood.
And another example was visiting the Wild Goose Pagoda where Tripitaka resided after returning from India and bringing Buddhism to China. Having grown up watching Monkey Magic, this seemed like a very awesome thing to see for ourselves.
So it’s no wonder that the Warriors didn’t stand a chance amongst the other things that we saw in China.