China’s Terracotta Army

first_imgby Jonathan TanThe brief seemed simple enough: travel to London to view the British Museum’s Terracotta Army exhibition and see whether it lived up to the hype.  Actually I had been oblivious to any hype.  How popular could it be?  Surely the principal reason the army is so impressive is the sheer scale of the work:  over eight thousand soldiers filling vast underground caverns.  Yet, in the case of the British Museum, there are fewer than twenty.  Still, it turns out these few statues are enough to turn the museum into something akin to a rock concert, and the British public into screaming, knicker-throwing teenage girls.  And I realise the cost of being part of this baffling phenomenon when my alarm clock sounds at 5am on a Saturday, and I’m forced to obey it.The exhibition runs from September to April, but advance tickets are already sold out until January and are likely to sell out entirely within a month. Fortunately, five hundred are released every day for purchase at the museum. It is all for one of these precious tickets that I find myself in line at eight in the morning, a full hour before the gates even open. This, it seems, is just enough commitment to warrant sixtieth place in the queue. I ask the frontrunner what time he arrived. He shrugs. “About 6.30.” Nodding sleepily, I take my place in the line, which, within minutes, extends behind me, out of sight.9am arrives and I’ve never been so glad to see it.  I trudge inside to take up position in a new queue. The £10 tickets are issued in timeslots to avoid overcrowding and the earliest times sell out first. Finding myself with an hour to wait, I foolishly decide to ascertain the length of the queue. Part accountant, part harbinger-of-doom, I shuffle down the entire line, informing those that ask of their predicament. There are over eight hundred people queuing for five hundred tickets, and it’s only 9.20 am.I queue again (briefly) to actually enter the exhibition. By this point, the anticipation has me expecting the archaeological equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Instead, I find myself in the Reading Room, a reasonably large, circular area with a high, ornate ceiling. The exhibition itself is modern, with temporary stages erected, but I can see rows of old bookshelves just behind the makeshift walls.  The atmosphere is a welcome relief from the chaos outside. Thanks to the timeslots, the exhibition is uncrowded, even peaceful, and there is ample time and space with which to savour the presentations. The magnificence of the history is unquestionable, but I want to view the displays for what they are, without feeling as if I’m obligated to bow in reverent awe, so I’m less than pleased by the opening chunks of information. The First Emperor ‘was unique in both life and death’ claims the British Museum which makes me wonder if it was them who started all the hype. Thankfully, most of the placards let the facts speak for themselves.  This is not simply a display of ceramic figures, but an intriguing immersion into the Qin Empire. As I follow the layout, I am schooled in culture, history and architecture, before learning about the archaeological site itself. The Emperor, who viewed himself as an eternal, universal ruler, was driven to create an entire world for his afterlife out of a terrible fear of death.“He wanted to live forever!” exclaims one lady behind me.“So do we all,” replies her elderly friend dryly.It’s interesting, but it’s all foreplay.  Everyone’s looking for the main exhibit.There are about twenty complete terracotta warriors and horses displayed together (the largest ever collection outside of China), and numerous security guards watching over them, presumably on edge ever since an environmental protestor managed to sneak face masks on them.  Indeed, when one observer leans in too close, the tranquillity is shattered by alarms.  A guard surreptitiously whispers to me that one of the ‘objects’ in the display is worth £1.5 billion (approximately the GDP of a small country such as Suriname), but refuses to say which one.  I retain a healthy scepticism about his claim.The figures themselves are slightly more than life-sized, uniquely detailed, staring impassively through two thousand years of history, betraying nothing of the pain that went into their creation.  It is certainly a privilege to be able to stand so close to such essential historical artefacts and I even find myself shivering- although it later transpires I’m standing on an air vent.If the exhibits answer copious questions, they also raise some more.  Why may archaeologists never excavate the Emperor’s tomb itself?  What mysteries lie inside?  And still the question persists: why exactly is this relatively small exhibition so popular?  It is fascinating and well-designed, yet the hordes of people clamouring for tickets must expect something more.  Perhaps for some it is the chance of a lifetime, their only opportunity to confront such mythical heritage.  If not the statues themselves, perhaps it is the idea that compels.  The sheer audacity and grandeur and madness of one man.  Yet as I leave the museum, I see the last remnants of the queue and, gazing at their forlorn expressions, I wonder where the madness really lies.last_img read more

GAA: DONEGAL COUNTY RESULTS

first_imgRTE Raidio na Gaeltachta SFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment02-Oct-2011Gleann Suilli1 – 80 – 9Naomh MichealMacCumhaill ParkFinal-Line: S Mc Loughlin/R O DonnellRTE Raidio na Gaeltachta SFRCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment02-Oct-2011Na Ceithre Maistiri1 – 50 – 10Cill CharthaMacCumhaill ParkFinal-Line: R Kennedy/M CollBusanna Feda O Donaill Jun BFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment02-Oct-2011St Eunans1 – 150 – 2GlenfinO Donnell Park2nd. LegBrian McCormack Sports Division One ReserveDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Cloughaneely1 – 92 – 4ArdaraPairc Naomh Fionnan FalcarraghCentra Supermarkets Division ThreeDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Naomh Naille1 – 91 – 9MilfordNaomh NailleMcGlynns Resturant Castlefin Division TwoDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Killybegs0 – 92 – 9Sean MacCumhaillsFintraBrian McCormack Sports Division OneDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Malin1 – 90 – 12St EunansMalinCentra Supermarkets Division ThreeDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Urris2 – 50 – 11Naomh MhuireUrris Pairc Ui ChraimhsaighMcGlynns Resturant Castlefin Division TwoDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Fanad Gaels1 – 71 – 12KilcarPairc Ui Shiail PortsalonCentra Supermarkets Division ThreeDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Naomh Brid2 – 91 – 7Aodh RuadhNaomh BridMcGlynns Resturant Castlefin Division TwoDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Termon1 – 70 – 13BundoranTermonBusanna Feda O Donaill Jun AFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Red Hughs0 – 82 – 7BurtConvoyS/Final-Line: R Mc Gonagle/B TreartyBrian McCormack Sports Division OneDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Cloughaneely1 – 141 – 12ArdaraPairc Naomh Fionnan FalcarraghMcGlynns Resturant Castlefin Division Two ReserveDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Killybegs2 – 80 – 11Sean MacCumhaillsFintraMarley Coach Hire Division Four ReserveDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Na Rossa0 – 141 – 7ConvoyPairc DooeyMcGlynns Resturant Castlefin Division Two ReserveDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Termon1 – 104 – 10BundoranTermonBusanna Feda O Donaill Jun AFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Downings1 – 50 – 10Naomh Padraig LeifearO Donnell ParkS/Final-Line: G Mc Hugh/P Mc GintyBusanna Feda O Donaill IFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Naomh Columba0 – 100 – 7Naomh ColmcilleTir Chonaill Park Donegal TownS.F/Replay-E/Time-Line: P Walsh/L JordanBusanna Feda O Donaill IRFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Carndonagh1 – 120 – 4Naomh MhuireUrris Pairc Ui Chraimhsaigh1st. Round/P/Off-E/TimeBusanna Feda O Donaill Jun BFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Letterkenny Gaels0 – 101 – 10Naomh UltanConvoyQ/Final-Line: R Mc Gonagle/B TreartyCentra Supermarkets Division ThreeDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Carndonagh2 – 60 – 8BuncranaCarndonaghBusanna Feda O Donaill Jun BFCDateTeam 1ScoreScoreTeam 2VenueComment01-Oct-2011Glenswilly1 – 51 – 9Naomh Padraig LeifearO Donnell ParkQ/FinalGAA: DONEGAL COUNTY RESULTS was last modified: October 3rd, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GAA: DONEGAL COUNTY RESULTSlast_img read more