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Bowers Museum Report

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My Visit to the Bowers Museum

September 22, 2011

I visited the Bowers Museum on Thursday, September 22, 2011. This was my first visit to the Bowers. I went to the museum to see a special exhibit of the Chinese Warriors from Xian. I was very interested in seeing this exhibit. I visited China several years ago. Although I saw many exciting things such as The Great Wall and The Forbidden City, I did not get to Xian. I have wanted to see the excavated soldiers ever since then.

The Bowers was very nice. It is a small museum with well maintained grounds. It is also conveniently located in Orange County and parking was very easy. We entered through a courtyard that has two fountains.

The Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit had a separate admission charge which included a self guided audio tour. This audio tour was set up so that it enabled me to spend more time on some artifacts and less on others. The audio equipment also had a button which gave additional information about pieces that I really liked. The Bowers allowed you to take photos of the exhibit, which was unusual and very welcome. The display also allowed you to get very close to the

objects, most of which did not have any glass or other material surrounding them. The Terra Cotta warriors exhibit was amazing! It encompassed three of the most important dynasties in Chinese history: the Qin, the Han and the Tang. There were a few of the famous life-size terra cotta warriors, who were the guards for China's first emperor Qin Shihuangdi. The mausoleum complex in Xian, from which these soldiers were retrieved is considered by some people to be the eighth wonder of the world. There are also objects from the imperial tomb compounds of Han emperors Gaozu and Jingdi, which include animals statues, and objects designed to insure a comfortable afterlife. Tang Dynasty objects were tied to the trade along the Silk Road. There were gold ornaments, tomb guardians, a mural depicting a game of polo, gold, silver and gemstone treasures from the crypt of the Famen Monastery.. This was an important Buddist site which was sealed in 874 and discovered in 1987. It contained a fragment of Buddha's finger bone, remains of six Tang Dynasty emperors and China's only female emperor Wu Zhao.

I learned that the path to advancement in Qin society was through military service. Everyone had to prove their loyalty and courage in military battle. Soldiers who brought back were rewarded with promotions or pay raises. And desertion meant that your fellow warriors and family would all be punished. This militaristic philosophy may explain why the Emperors would choose to be buried with their armies. And, why so much attention was paid to the detail of each piece. Although more than



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