Terracotta Warriors Returned to British 11 Years Later to Contribute to the Sino-UK "Golden Age"

Following the exhibition in the British Museum in 2007, China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors came to Britain again on Feb. 9 and began an eight-month special exhibition in the World Museum Liverpool. The exhibition is the first major cultural event held by China and UK, after British Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent visit to China, and is also one of the most striking events of cultural exchanges between the two countries before the Chinese Lunar New Year, and will also become another important footnote to the Sino-British “Gold Age”.

Standing in front of Liverpool railway station, you can see huge posters with terracotta warriors hanging on the nearby building, a large banner of "China Dream" hanging in front of the St. George's Hall in the front of the station on the right, and the strings of red lanterns hanging in the nearby Chinese cities. All of these factors make Liverpool full of Chinese New Year flavor.

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors is a major exhibition among the 18 exhibitions to be held by Liverpool National Museum this year for the purpose of celebrating the 10th anniversary of Liverpool's election as the "European Capital of Culture". This exhibition hall with an area of 1,200 square meters is full of Chinese elements such as, lantern-shaped porticoes, showcases with a background color of Chinese red, and the use of Qin dynasty small seal characters, thus creating a strong Chinese culture atmosphere.

According to Wu Haiyun, head of Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Centre, there are 125 exhibits (groups) displayed in the exhibition, which include 120 pieces (group) of cultural relics and 5 pieces (groups) of auxiliary exhibits from 13 museums and institutes from across Shaanxi Province, including Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Shaanxi History Museum and Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology etc.

Wu Haiyun said that the showcasing objects include not only the 10 life-sized terracotta warriors with various shapes unearthed from the terracotta warriors pit of the Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, but also the great tripod in the Warring States period, stone armor, bronze bells, gold hooks, jade and other types of artifacts, most of which have never been on show in the UK before.

The special curator, Dr. Lin from the Cambridge Fitzwilliam Museum, told reporters that the showcasing objects included a variety of cultural relics from the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods to the Qin and Han dynasties, to show the British audience the style of China in that era.

Li Xiuzhen said, the exhibition also display the Han Dynasty small pottery products, utensils and burial customs, hoping to let foreigners know about the influence of the First Emperor of Qin on future generations and demonstrate China's new research achievements on terracotta warriors to the British public by this way.

Sydney Burge, a British retired old man, told that he was impressed by the exquisite workmanship of the terra-cotta warriors at the British Museum 11 years ago. While this time, the exhibition exhibited not only the terra-cotta warriors, but also many historical relics in the same period, which made him very happy. “It was an “unparalleled feat” that the Chinese were able to produce a large number of terra-cotta cotta warriors 2000 years ago, whose historical significance is comparable to that of the Egyptian pyramids.

On the occasion of the ceremony held on the afternoon of Feb. 8, Mark Brendel, the Queen’s representative on Merseyside on behalf of the Queen, gave the Queen’s gratitude to the Shaanxi Provincial Government and read the message from Theresa May. May said in a message that the Terracotta Warriors are one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the world. It is believed that the audience will recognize the breadth and depth of Chinese history and culture through the exhibition, and this is a good symbol of lasting friendship between the two countries and the two peoples.

Wang Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom said in the speech, that the China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors exhibition in the UK again 11 years later, was a great event for Sino-British cultural exchanges this year. The exhibition has three meanings: building a bridge between Chinese and English understanding and friendship, giving a vivid Chinese history lesson, and opening a window to understand the "Belt and Road".

He said that, the buried place of the Terra-cotta Warriors, Xi'an called Chang’an in ancient times, was the beginning of the historical "Silk Road" in the east. Now days, the "Belt and Road" initiative injects new impetus to the development of Eurasia, at the same time provides the impetus to the development of the world. As the two ends of the "Belt and Road" in the east and west respectively, China and UK should seize the new opportunity brought by "Belt and Road" to create more "golden fruit" for the "gold age" of Sino-British relationship.
David Fleming, the curator of the exhibition organizers National Museum Liverpool said in an interview with Xinhua reporter, “the Terra-cotta Warriors is one of the great archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The exhibition about China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors will provide a "great opportunity" for Western people to understand the history and culture of China. The pre-sale of tickets for the exhibition has exceeded 120,000 copies, creating a record of pre-sale of the museum, and this clearly reflect the enthusiasm of the local people to the Terra-cotta Warriors.

It is reported that Liverpool will also hold a series of China Dream activities from Feb. 16, which include the three stages. The first stage is to promote Chinese young artists living in Liverpool, the second stage is to show the works of artists from the sister city of Liverpool, Shanghai, and the third stage is about music which will invite Chinese musicians to show in the hometown of the Beatles.

Liverpool has been playing an important role in the Sino-British relationship. In 1834, the first merchant ship from China entered the port of Liverpool. Today, the Liverpool University has the largest number of overseas Chinese students in Europe. During the past two centuries, Chinese and Chinese culture have been a part of the history of Liverpool, and the exhibition of terra-cotta warriors will bring an indelible mark to the history of the city.

[Source:Shaanxi Daily]