Ancient terracotta warriors from China will march into a Dutch museum for the first time ever with the official opening on Saturday of an exhibition in Assen in northern Netherlands.
Fourteen life-sized terracotta figures, including 10 warriors, three servants and one horse, form part of the show "The Terracotta Army of Xi'an: The Treasures of the First Emperors of China," which opens in the Drents Museum on Saturday.
They will be accompanied by over 200 other magnificent objects, made of gold, jade and bronze, from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC-9 AD), Ellen ter Hofstede, communication officer of the Drents Museum, told Xinhua on Thursday.
Among them are two life-sized bronze birds from the Qin Dynasty, and 96 miniature terracotta statues from the mausoleums of emperors and noblemen of the Western Han Dynasty.
The exhibition, which runs through Aug. 31, is a joint effort of the Drents Museum, and the Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center in Xi'an, China, Hofstede said.
The exhibition will give visitors an insight into the extraordinary lengths craftsmen went to in order to delight the emperors, in both life and death, she said.
The show has generated great media interest in the Netherlands and is expected to draw 150,000 to 200,000 visitors, an unusually large crowd for the museum, Hofstede said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen will attend the opening ceremony on Saturday night, when the Shaanxi Song and Dance Troupe will give a performance, she said.
The exhibition of the terracotta army is part of the "Go China!" project, jointly organized by the Drents Museum and the Groninger Museum, which comprises a total of five exhibitions on Chinese archaeology, Chinese Realists, avant-garde art and Chinese contemporary art.
In Groningen in the north of Assen, the whole of the Groninger Museum will be transformed into a "Small Chinese Empire."
The exhibitions of archaeological bronze objects from China's Shanghai Museum, present-day Chinese art, including work by Ai Weiwei, and Chinese Realists and Avant-garde art from the 1980s and the 1990s, will go on show in stages from Feb. 2 to Nov. 23.
The "Go China!" project, designed to coincide with the Olympic Games in China, will show the versatile and rich culture of China, according to the press releases of the museums.
Many extra activities will also be organized by both museums, including music nights, open classes of Tai Chi, and a program for school kids. These events will "ensure that the northern Netherlands is completely immersed in Chinese culture in 2008," the press releases said.