Day At the Museum: The Warrior Emperor & China’s Terracotta Army

20 Feb

Our tickets. So colorful!

Just came back from The Warrior Emperor & China’s Terracotta Army Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts.  We arrived pretty early this morning (around 11 am) to “beat the crowd” but no avail; the place was completely packed!  Granted this is the second weekend since this exhibit opened so that could be a major factor, but  it was impossible to navigate through the rooms without bumping into a few dozens of people on the way.  Anyways, I digress.

Personally I don’t know much about Chinese history aside from the Cultural Revolution and the Cold War (took a few Poli Sci classes throughout my studies).  Whatever little knowledge I have of Ancient China came from various movies and series I’ve watched over the years so this was pretty interesting for me.  I was surprise at the size of the collection since I was expecting one or two terracotta figures but they have things from quite a few tombs of the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE – 206 BCE) and the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).  I love the section they have about the tomb’s layout (it’s like an underground metropolis!), the weapons (the swords and crossbows are awesome), and the Imperial Palace (they have scaled 3d model of it on display).

Overall, this exhibition is worth the visit.  The only complaint I have though is that they tell you the weight of the armors but not for the weapons and the helmets (a few people behind me were also disappointed about that), nor do they tell you the height of the statues (how tall are the life-sized figures?).  It’s also frustrating that there wasn’t any consistency on the name of the First Emperor of China (some descriptions used Cantonese pingyin while others used Mandarin, and the rest of it simply referred to him as “The First Emperor” — very confusing especially for those who don’t know Chinese history since gives the impression that more than one emperor is on display).  Otherwise, it’s definitely worth going (we spent almost 3 hours there even though we didn’t read everything).  Just make sure you bring your glasses if you have astigmatism since the lights dim on a timer and most of the descriptions for the artifacts are displayed on glass panels.

More info:  About this exhibition //  The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

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