Swedes will soon be able to see China's terracotta warriors and other valuable relics in the equally spectacular setting of Stockholm's secret caverns.
The warriors are the centrepiece of an exhibition that opens in two days' time in the Rock Heavens, a network of caverns originally built for the Swedish military.
"The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities has for many years had a vision, idea and wish to do a large exhibition from ancient China, an exhibition with both Qin's warriors and the story of the first emperor, but also the consolidation and unification of China during the early Han Dynasty. The idea was to create this exhibition as a kind of celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sweden and China," Sanne Houby-Nielsen, Director General of Swedish National Museums of World Culture, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
She said a meeting with the National Property Board had made it possible to exhibit the first emperor in the Rock Heavens, just beneath the museum.
The tunnel system was made with dynamite in 1940 and it served as the Swedish Navy Headquarters till 1960. This is the first time that a large number of visitor will be able to enter the caverns and experience the unique exhibition.
"For us, it is the possibility to stand face to face with the warriors because, even if you have been in China, and you have been in the museum in Xi'an, it is quite a long distance from the platform and down from the entrance, but here it is very intimate experience of the warriors due to the showcases, the audience can almost stand face to face just like we are talking now," Houby-Nielsen said.
It is expected that at least 150,000 visitors will visit the exhibition, which will last till January 16 next year.
"It is of enormous interest not only to Sweden, but also to neighbouring countries. We have never experienced anything like this before. There are tourists coming from all over Sweden," she said.
In 1984, there were 20 to 30 antiques, including eight Qin terracotta warriors, a horse and other wares exhibited in the main hall of the museum.
But this time, a total of 300 objects, including eight Qin terracotta warriors with armour, many Han terracotta figures and other wares on exhibition. They are mainly from the excavations in 1974 of the now world-famous terracotta soldiers and other finds from the grave of the First Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi (221-210BC), and the grave of Emperor Jingdi and Empress Wang, discovered close to Xi'an.
The exhibition displays many kinds of artifacts that show how Chinese first emperors wanted to have eternal life and unified measurement. The objects include the jade burial suits, the golden goat and the accurate measuring devices which are still used today in the world.
"The finds are so magnificent. Even if they are known, they are still spectacular for the audiences to have such an experience," Houby-Nielsen said.
China has sought share its spectacular heritage and the warriors are now well travelled, having been loaned to institutions around the world.