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Saturday, December 6, 2008

The First Emperor

I went to a Chinese exhibition at the High Museum for free on Saturday. I love culture and viewing it for free made it sweeter, courtesy of a deal I found out about through Onyx Cherry where Fulton County residents get free entry the first weekend of each month.

The first Chinese Emperor was able to begin building the Great Wall, create a Food & Drug Administration, and was completely obsessed with immortality.

All of the soldiers here are clay, terra cotta. He ordered thousands to be created to guard him in the afterlife. He also sanctioned the creation of hundreds of scribes, officials, musicians, and even birds made of terra cotta to accompany him in the after life. There was even an actual mock river bed found with cranes and swans of clay in and around the creek of actual running water buried in his tomb. The tomb of Shi Huang Di is near an earthen pyramid 76 meters tall and nearly 350 square meters. His actual tomb with all its pits is covers an area miles apart.

It is amazing to me how advanced their creation was. The soldiers are around 6 feet tall, which would have been larger than life at that time. And they were created on arguably one of the first assembly line. Each part was assigned a different artist who had to be accountable by signature for any defects.

As with any dominate culture, their literacy and technology was advanced. He united many territories under one common language with advanced weapons and military strategies.

It's peculiar how the more things change, the more they remain the same. He was not unlike more present leaders (Caesar and Napoleon come to mind) in that he wanted to be remembered;I guess this is one way to do it as he is still celebrated some 2,000 + years later. However, conversely his cruelty to his subjects, paranoia of up-risings, and intolerance for expression is also not unlike dictatorships today.


muslimahlocs said...

i wonder how long that exhibit has been there. i feel like i saw it there myself ages ago. of maybe i am just getting old? it is a beautiful exhibit.

onyxcherry said...

I was fascinated by this exhibit and this Ruler's obsession with world domination even after death.

Naturally Sophia said...

@ Muslimah- I think it has gone and come back several times.