Monday, January 10, 2011

the terracotta army

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The week before Christmas - on one of those rare winter-days with sun which made the freezing, wintry streets of Stockholm look absolutely enchanting - we finally made our way to this round of the Terracotta Army exhibition. Last time it was on display in Stockholm was in 1984. I remembered we queued for hours on a bitterly cold winter day back then, me and a friend. The weather much like now, but no queueing this time (and I would not have been that patient now). For some reason I seem to recall it was worth the wait and the money then, that it was indeed an impressive exhibition.

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This time I was utterly disappointed. About 10 clay soldiers in glass boxes, a few small horses and some smaller sculptures. Not at all what I had expected – had I read more about the exhibition beforehand I would probably had realized it would be far from the world heritage grandeur I had thought of. So silly me for that – and for quite a hefty entrance fee (~22 usd).

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And as impressive as the work and craftsmanship itself is, it also oozes monumental madness, tragedy, waste and sadness. Only humans use and abuse others to create something as ridiculous and crazy. All that went through my mind while we strolled the exhibition, me trying to get some reasonable photos in bad light while feeling it was rather a waste of time and money...

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There’s a replica exhibition at the China center (not without its controversy) center called Dragon Gate some few hours drive north of Stockholm, where the display seems to be much more of impressive-clay-army-like. Which quite possible would make one even more sad than these few clay fellas did, thinking of all the madness and waste with human history repeating itself in different ways still...

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What made me most happy that day (apart from the glorious winter weather) was the finding of my two kitsch generals. Hadn't I gone to the exhibition I'd never have found them. They are most amusing. Kind of silent. But sort of dashing. Perky and colourful. All hearts and mild manners. Non bellicose. Tad golden. Keeping a watchful eye over matters. Ideal.

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1 comment:

richies said...

The terra cotta warriors are an amazing story even if as you say it exposes the madness, tragedy, waste and sadness of humans. Unfortunately things haven't improved much since these terra cotta warriors were made.

An Arkies Musings

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