Just like his first meeting with them, Nestor Dub still found the terra-cotta figures of ancient Chinese warriors and horses before him fascinating and unbelievable.
These soldiers and horses made people feel insignificant and realize that in a different time, in a different part of the world, "things this grand had existed," said Dud, standing before a bust of a terra-cotta soldier.
Dub was one of the more than 200,000 Americans who visited the 5-month-long terra-cotta exhibition in the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which ended here Sunday.
To allow more people to see the warriors from faraway China, the museum opened around the clock on the last weekend of the exhibition. Still, all the three display rooms were packed with viewers who were taking their "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to see the so-called "eighth wonder of the world."
Being the largest display of terra-cotta figures and tomb artifacts to travel to the United States, the exhibition showcases more than 100 valuable objects from the tomb complex of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, including 14 soldiers and horses.
Dud, who visited the terra-cotta exhibition seven years ago in Xi'an, capital city of China's Shaanxi province, the birthplace of the warriors and horses, said the exhibition in Houston is still "very fascinating" though it is much smaller in scale, because it represents "a part of a different culture, a different history and a different time."
A lover of different cultures, Dub said he believed exhibitions like this help "bridge gaps between cultures." He said he plans to go back to China, which has left a nice impression on him after his first visit to the country, not only to see the terra-cotta figures, but also to see more of the country.
Unlike Dub, Susie Penn had not heard of the terra-cotta warriors until she learnt their existence from a TV program recently, but her impression of them is the same.
These warriors are just fascinating, she said. "It's just incredible. How did the people device these (the warriors) and how could they last so many years," she said.
These terra-cotta figures show how advanced the ancient China was and how brilliant ancient Chinese people were, she said.
A young couple from Italy came to the exhibition after they learnt there was such an exhibition underway in Houston. The wife, a history scholar, said she had learnt from books that China has a fairly long culture and boasts a unique artistic form of ceramic-making. The exhibition reinforced such impression, she said.
Steven Cowan, public relations coordinator of the museum, said the exhibition is one of the most popular exhibitions in the museum's history and the attendance has exceeded expectations.
"It's a very popular exhibit. It's from Xi'an, China. Not many people have the chance to travel there themselves to see the exhibit of these wonderful terra cotta soldiers. The museum is proud to showcase such an exhibition from China and give people in Houston a chance to see these great artifacts," he said.
Before coming to Houston, the warriors and horses had been on display in California and Los Angeles last year, where they were warmly welcomed and attracted a record high of attendance. Their next stop will be Washington D.C..
The Houston Museum of Natural Science gave much importance to the terra-cotta exhibition and had started preparing for it since the beginning of this year, said Joel A. Bartsch, president of the museum.
A bookmark specially designed for the exhibition reads: "3.2 million pounds of clay to build them. 2000 degrees fahrenheit to fire them, 20 centuries to find them. One chance in a lifetime to see them."
Since their discovery, the terra-cotta army, which were supposed to protect the mausoleum of the first emperor of China's feudal dynasties has attracted more than 60 million visitors.
The terra-cotta exhibition in the United States, entitled Terra-Cotta Warriors, Guardians of China's First Emperor, has been named one of the top five "must see" exhibitions by Time Magazine.
Source: Xinhua News