Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is Relic.

This is a four horse bronze chariot of the Qin dynasty.CIMG2362

Archeologists labelled this as the No. 1 Bronze Carriage of the first Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

Two chariots were discovered in the terracotta ruins. This one was lying 8m deep and 20 m away from the masuoelum of Qin Shi Huang.

While many people were awed when they first saw the terracotta army, I was stunned by the sight of this half size chariot- when it was exhibited in the Arts Museum in Hong Kong.CIMG2363

To go with the exhibition, they also have an animation of the carriage, explaining how this was discovered in year 1980 and how the carriage works.

The exhibition showed many relics of the Qin dynasty too – they gave me an appreciation how advanced things were in the Qin dynasty!

Apologize that the picture was not well taken, as it does not show the parasol and the driver whose eyes were glued to the distant ground. It was mainly because the chariot was housed in a curved glass exhibition case in a dark room.

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Metal

This week Cee’s challenge is about the first of the Chinese five Elements: Metal

I have always been interested to find out what metal was used in human history and how they were used.  Of particular interest is the metal used the Qin dynasty (which is 2200 years ago) when China was unified for the first time. I got some of the answers when I went to a Terracotta Relics exhibition which displayed many of the terracotta army, soldiers, generals, horses, chariots etc. as well as some metallic relics.

One of these was the Gold Tiger-shaped Tally (hufu 虎符) which is a Grade 1 Cultural Relic of China. It was unearthed in 1972 in Shanxi Province where the Terracotta Army was also found.CIMG2322

This tiger shaped tally has an exaggerated design with huge eyes and ears, the tiger crouches on its four limbs, swishing its tail and ready to devour its prey with its protruding teeth. Used as a means of identification in ancient times. Tiger-shaped tallies became prevalent in the “Spring and Autumn Warring States ” periods as tools for sending military departures. The goldsmithing of the early Qin (221- 206BC) era was distinguished from that of other states, which can possibly be attributed to the exchanges between the Qin people and their nomadic neighbors.

The other one, a bronze  ge or “daggeraxe” (戈),  is the most characteristic weapon of ancient China. The ge is the one on the left of the picture below; note the sharpness of the blades and the ancient Chinese characters inscribed on it.CIMG2324

Starting 1974, the Terracotta Warriors Pits have unearthed large amounts of bronze weapons which include swords, spears, scimitars, billhooks, dagger-axes, arrowheads and crossbows. Despite being buried for over two thousand years, these military weapons still in a usable state and their edges are as sharp as  new. This reflects the high level of metallurgical technology of the Qin Dynasty. From this we know that the warriors were fully equipped with the then state-of-the art bronze weapons. The assemblage excavated so far includes over 40,000 arrowheads, as well as hundreds of crossbow triggers, swords, lances, spears, dagger-axe, hooks, honour weapons (Su) and the ferrules that were fixed at the end of the wooden shafts of the longer weapons.

These give us some insight as to the already high level of metallurgical skills even 2000 years ago!