Saturday, June 21, 2014

THE TERRA COTTA WARRIORS

The Long Lost Terra Cotta Warriors are Called to Battle
wodumedia.com


for Hannah's prompt at Real Toads: China: Tea Fields, Terra Cotta Warriors,  Pandas,all things Chinese. The Terra Cotta Warriors have always fascinated me, since I read Annie Dillard's description of her visit to see them, in For the Time Being.


Briefly, farmers digging for a well in China in 1974 uncovered a terra cotta face. On further investigation, an entire underground army of life sized terra cotta figures has been discovered, surrounding the tomb of China's first Emperor, Qin She Huang, 260-210 BC, who became Emperor  at the age of thirteen. In 210-209 BC, they were buried with him as a type of funerary art, depicting his living army, each figure individually represented. 


Thousands of army figures,   both cavalry and infantrymen, along with horses and chariots, have been unearthed at a depth of 23 feet, surrounding the burial tomb as far away as a kilometer and a half outwards. It is as if they were placed around the tomb to protect the Emperor in death as their live counterparts did in life. As artisans brush away the surrounding clay, they free the figures, in amazingly pristine condition after more than two thousand years underground.



They swim up out of the earth, clay warriors, 
terra cotta faces peering from red dirt,
faces astonished upon seeing light, the spark,
after centuries of living in the dark.

Terra cotta faces peering from red dirt,
a man, a horse, swim upward through the clay,
After centuries of living in the dark,
emerging as if birthed into the light of day.

A man, a horse, swim upward through the clay,
full chariots, where men and horses ride,
emerging as if birthed into the light of day,
as the artist gently brushes the soft powdery dirt away.

Full chariots, where men and horses ride,
faces astonished upon seeing  light, the spark,
as the artist gently brushes the soft powdery dirt away,
they swim up out of the earth, clay warriors, escaping from the dark.

disclaimer: this is supposed to be a pantoum, but in order to make the last line have some relevance, 
I had to add a phrase. 

41 comments:

  1. Sherry, fascinating story and I love what you did to bring the story to life. Excellent poem.

    Pamela ox

    ReplyDelete
  2. hey i am all for breaking form...ha...
    this is such a cool discovery...you have to wonder why -- the story behind them...esp for the level of detail...even if just funeral art...its really rather fascinating...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the swimming up, one after another, as if forever. This would work for the light and dark prompt too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And your illustrations also bring me there. I saw them on tour. Mind blowing.

      Delete
  4. I have always wishes to see these, Sherry. Doubt I will but I can dream.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh I loved this! You created for me an entire film for my mind. The statues moved there.
    Such a well-expressed, captivating treatment of the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awesome, Sherry!! I SO enjoyed this post and the amount of energy that you put into it! Truly. Excellent research and I love the form you put to use here...the repetition really works well, in my opinion, especially because of the topic chosen...the repeating soldiers line after line. Poignant work...thank you for joining!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I enjoyed your poem, Sherry, and the way you brought them alive. They are fascinating, aren't they? And to think that not two are the same.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good morning Sherry,
    I don't think your link from poetry pantry works. Maybe you want to check it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, but what do you think about Sherry's poem?

      Delete
  9. I think the link was broken - but hey this is great, those warriors have been awoken is fascinating. And breaking a rule.. Hey that's great.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really like the image of the figures "swimming" upwards through the clay - the blend of two elements perfectly conveys their emergence from the past.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like your sort-of pantoum, had a nice evocative rhythm to it. I liked what you did with the story of the terra-cotta warriors. Very memorable.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I so love this rise from darkness to light...and such a fascinating story..

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lovely... informative and descriptive!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. what a beautiful story of horses and warriors!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Replies
    1. Don't mind Cosmo...he is just having a Swedish moment:)

      Delete
  16. These are completely amazing, Sherry! The history behind, the poetry you wrote---both give me chills. I would like to stand face-to-face with these warriors too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wonderful poem - the repetitive "swim" brings all alive

    ReplyDelete
  18. Regardless ... what a wonderful story and well described. Bravo!
    ZQ

    ReplyDelete
  19. i am totally fascinated by not just the construct of all these figures in China's antiquity, but the relevance, the task, the art, etc.

    and as far as the breaking the rules of the pantoum, i am 'beside myself' in 'shock and awe', the rythm and balance of my yin/yang and chakra has been discombobulated, dismembered!!!!

    gracias, mi amiga :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have seen this warriors and it is true the condition is pristine. Each face is unique.

    ReplyDelete
  21. you crafted your language so well the centuries old figures truly came to life for me

    'Sunday Savvy' at my blog is now a meme is about Sundays so remember to drop in and linkup any Sunday

    much love...

    ReplyDelete
  22. They showed up to remind us about history and its lessons...~ these figurines are also could make an interesting toy for kids, recopied of course from the clay. ~ Cool research and poem! And our ancestors actually didn't like to share....'all mine take with me' motto...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am IN LOVE with the idea of the Terra Cotta Warriors merely existing somewhere on earth. When you put in the notion of the warriors, horses, and chariots riding up out of the ground, as though claiming their new level, it's thrilling. Prose poems... is there anything you DON'T DO? Truly wonderful. Love, A

    ReplyDelete
  24. A great poetic description of what an archaeologist does. I enjoyed it greatly.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you, Sherry ~~ First for the reminder of them and how their finding, etc, all came about. We did visit them while we were there.

    Second, in bringing them to life in their escape from being buried, alive (not really alive as they were only molded art objects). Nicely written.
    ..

    ReplyDelete
  26. I enjoyed this piece like drinking pina colada in the summer! I learned about these works of art from my Humanities class early this year. The angle that your post used to describe them was just amazing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is so interesting. You always seem to find very fascinating, hidden treasures. I like your poem. I certainly can't judge form. I'm a coward who never adheres to it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I appreciate the backgrounder & lovely form Sherry ~ Some day I want to visit that place and marvel at the life sized terra cotta figures ~

    Happy week to you ~

    Grace

    ReplyDelete
  29. so interesting - I love how the terra cotta swims up - the clay from the clay - escaping from the dark - wonderful - K

    ReplyDelete
  30. it is an amazing story....There is so much to love in your poem.."faces astonished upon seeing light," and "they swim up out of the earth, clay warriors, escaping from the dark" are just a couple of things in so many that stood out for me.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have always found them quite fascinating as well. I really enjoyed the image of them swimming up out of the earth. Very nice pantoum "with a twist" :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sherry, I found this to be very interesting and I like where you went with the poem. Warrior's unearthed..amazing and I wonder how long it took
    to create this army? I found it a bit chilling as it reminds me of lost souls..Fascinating...

    ReplyDelete
  33. your poem describes these warriors so well!
    i think the pantoum works fine, and so appropriate to use an asian poetic form. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Stirring and impactful - the rhyming scheme is just wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  35. very cool.. i have read about them before as well and find it totally fascinating - would love to visit one day...

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have been there and seen them - they were awesome! So very cool.

    ReplyDelete

I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!