The First Emperor Exhibit

Not only did we hit the King Tut exhibit at the Civic Center last Friday, the Wednesday before we visited The First Emperor, China’s Terracotta Army exhibit at the High. Again, no photos permitted so I’ve none to offer. At the link there are videos which we’ll no doubt spend time watching over the coming couple of weeks, including a 9 part documentary series on the first emperor.

I’ve not really much to say about it other than the figures were impressive but it’s the masses of them that are so remarkable, whereas the two colossal figures bookending the King Tut exhibit had in themselves a sense of presence that hooked one to the floor.

I’d not realized that 100 rivers made of mercury formed a part of Qin Shi Huangdi’s necropolis.


Well, how’s that for uninformative. You could learn that anywhere else on the internet.

If I was a school child and having to submit a report, I’d write:

“I found most interesting the statue of the strong man. It was especially interesting because a really big Chinese man built exactly the same was standing right in front of the big statue of the strong man looking at it. It was like the individual on whom the mold was based had been reincarnated in much the same form, a form he apparently liked, and dropped by for a visit but seemed unaware that this was his portrait that he had been magnetically drawn to across the centuries to finally stand in front of himself in Atlanta, Georgia.”

As soon as I placed my last punctuation mark above, my son started talking about reincarnation.

While I was seated on a bench, looking down the room at the strong man and the large man standing in front of it, I noticed another man nearby and took note of how his jeans hung on his frame and it popped to my mind, “That could be my brother, their jeans hang on each other in much the same way.”

I never think about my brother and his jeans. I wondered, at the time, how this would pop to mind.

He looked in no other way like my brother.

Then I sat and stared at one of the terra cotta horses.

Then about a minute later I looked back at the strong man (people seemed to like the strong man and were drawn to it and would stand in front of it a long time) and there, unexpectedly, was my brother and his wife now walking in that direction, who live in Georgia but don’t live in Atlanta and I’ve never unexpectedly run into them in town. I sprinted over and they said they’d just purchased a membership to the museum, anticipating going there the coming year with visiting Chinese friends (they have several children they’ve adopted from China). My sister-in-law had already been to see the terra cotta army in China and because of this wasn’t greatly impressed. They had been to the King Tut exhibit as well and my sister-in-law had liked that but my brother had preferred his time loitering around the Egyptian section in the British Museum.

I’m not very well traveled outside of wandering the US interstates and some of the back roads. I’ve not been to China. I’ve not even been to the UK so I’ve not been to the British Museum.

I have been to the New York Metro Museum of Art and they have a great Egyptian section in which I could spend weeks, but its virtues are not the same as the King Tut exhibit and I enjoyed them both.

Anyway, I’ve tried my best to think of something interesting to write and all I can think about is all that mercury. And the strong man.

Oh, and the horses. The terra cotta horses were wonderful. Someone ought to make a merry-go-round.

I dreamed all night about going to China. One of those anxiety dreams where you realize you are going somewhere but you aren’t prepared and it just goes downhilll from there. And then when I wasn’t dreaming about getting ready to go to China, I was dreaming about going to the King Tut exhibit again, only it turned out there were two exhibits and this time they sent us to the left, into an exhibit that turned out just to have pictures of the artifacts.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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