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Terracotta Warriors Exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum

10 July 2011 No Comment

We were excited to hear that the terracotta warriors are coming to Singapore. These petrified figures are considered by many to be among the most important national treasures of China and are seldom given the opportunity to travel abroad. Indeed, the current exhibition marks the very first time terracotta warriors are shown to public in Southeast Asia.

Driven by our enthusiasm, we went down to the Asian Civilisations Museum the week before for a chance to catch a glimpse of the warriors. A big crowd of families and tourists had arrived before us, forming a long queue right outside the exhibition hall. The guards stationed to monitor the crowd seemed to take their jobs more seriously than usual; we watched them giving stern warnings to visitors who failed to obey the no-flash photography rule inside the galleries.

Queue at the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition

After a ten minute wait, we entered a small area where a contemporary art installation by a local artist, Justin Lee, was displayed. One example of his artwork is a set of miniature terracotta warrior statues wearing headphones. We thought that this was an interesting side exhibition.

Art installation by Justin Lee

Once inside the exhibition gallery, we were introduced to the history of the Qin dynasty and of the man who unified China’s then warring states, Ying Zheng, also known as Qin Shi Huang. After his success in unifying China, he called himself the first emperor (Shi Huangdi). The terracotta warriors and the extensive tomb complex that housed them were built to accompany the first emperor into the afterlife. As the largest Imperial tomb ever built, the scale of the project and the level of detail paid into the workmanship (each terracotta soldier is said to have been modelled after a real life soldier, and equipped with real weapons) made the first emperor’s tomb without equal.

Terracotta Warriors

Taking center stage at the exhibition are ten life-sized terracotta warriors, which include a general, officers, infantrymen, charioteers, and an archer. For most visitors, this is the highlight of the exhibition and many are busy snapping their cameras away.

Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors

The exhibition focused not only on the terracotta warriors, but highlighted many other aspects of life during the Qin dynasty. There were over one hundred artefacts such as ancient coins, military tools, ritual items, and items related to the burial customs of the Qin and Han dynasty periods.

Artifacts from the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition

Artifacts from the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition

Artifacts from the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition

Artifacts from the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition

This particular exhibition is also special for the novel idea of using an iPhone app (ACM: Terracotta Warriors) to deliver an ‘augmented reality’ experience. Through the app, users gain access to an interactive story and mini games. They also see 3D reconstructions of terracotta warriors upon pointing their iPhone camera at icons placed at various locations.

Augmented Reality Experience

Augmented Reality experience on the iPhone

Terracotta Warriors – The first emperor and his legacy will be in town until 16 October 2011.

Travel Info

Opening hours: Mon 1pm-7pm, Tue to Sun 9am-7pm (Fri to 9pm).
Admission ticket SGD 8 (Adult)

Website: www.acm.org.sg

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