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Big Toys for Powerful Boys: Visiting the Terracotta Warriors
July 22, 2000

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A thousand warriors stand in front of me
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A thousand warriors stand in front of me, prepared but calm. Thirty-two chariots in a battle formation make a square in the center of the troops. I am awed and silent, but not scared. The soldiers' robes, now faded, were once brightly colored with crimson, greens, purples and blues.

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Each one is an individual, with his own unique expression
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Nearby, in a hidden underground room, the generals and officers of the Qin army plan their strategy and issue orders to the troops. Every day, more and more soldiers appear on this vast plain, near the ancient city of Xi'an, China. But from where do they come?

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Qin Shihang, the 'First Exalted Emperor'
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The soldiers continue to appear, uncovered, from deep inside the earth, with the help of expert Chinese archeologists. They were made out of a type of clay, called terracotta, and they are well over 2000 years old.

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When he was only thirteen years old, way back in time, Qin Shihang became the king of the state of Qin. At the time, China was divided into seven states, which were constantly fighting with each other. "There's a reason why, these days, we try to avoid giving absolute power to people, especially 13-year-old boys!" I think, looking out over the open caverns full of giant toy soldiers.

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No one knows really how many soldiers are out there
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No wonder the teenage emperor was so into war! It was like a massive video game, only it was real! One by one, the enemies' brightly colored flags were laid at the feet of a mean looking Qin Shihang.

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A life-size toy soldier to protect you - in the afterlife!
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So far, in the three different chambers they've discovered, they've found 6000 terracotta soldiers, along with terracotta horses and the rotted remains of wooden chariots. The bronze weapons are still sharp, they were never used, and are on display in one of the museums. And, every day, more of the army is uncovered. No one knows really how many soldiers are out there.

Vocabulary

strategy - a careful plan
terracotta - fired clay used for statuettes

Abeja

p.s. - Please e-mail me at ...abejahummel@bigfoot.com
 


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