Muffled footsteps echo in a darkened room. Whispers of an anticipated mystery, an ancient beauty in bronze and clay. A history is captured at a reasonable distance. An ancient culture preserved for an intended eternity…
A great wall is divided by dominance, provided for protection, and broken by war. Over mountains and through valleys, a border is formed. A thirteen year old boy becomes Emperor – the first Emperor. Consumed by ideals of immortality, grasping for perfect protection, an army of clay is ordered to be made for his transition into an afterlife.
The boy’s Eternal City is a dream where musicians dance with wild swans and chariots charge out into an endless sky. Art falls to its hands and knees at this paradise dedicated to a powerful young man, a troubled young man. A life’s ambition becomes a reality, a statuesque force, a memory in gold, topaz and jade.
However, it is bronze that sustains his seal and holds his culture firm for thousands of years. It is bronze that leaves clear traces and makes us marvel at such an advanced society.
The soldiers are his symbolic testament, his individual portraits trapped in time. They become timeless.
Commander and chief: undiscovered.
Feet face forward.
Hands grasp weapons.
Hair back tight.
Head face up.
Look straight ahead.
Protect me, stay with me forever. Comfort me throughout my everlasting walk.
I am untouchable. I am the mountain.
We see only a symbol, a meaning, a modern translation. There’s a proud ownership that speaks volumes in between interwoven lines.
Lines of servitude that stand at attention are but a token of a great many discovered. Shapes preserved for thousands of years, hidden and waiting for an intrusion.
One fingernail. One strand of hair.
Layer upon layer equals hours, days and weeks of forced labour.
You are worth one hundred and fifty days. You are his artistic purpose. Half a year for one result, for one man, for an immortal sentiment.
We witness history in art, an incomparable chance discovery.
A simple glance.
Is it chance that haunts us? Is it the mere idea that something so vast can be hidden from view for so long?
It ends with an alarm and a hasty farewell. We have disturbed the undisturbed. We have witnessed something that isn’t inherently ours.
Heavy, earth bound warriors stand in silence once more.
Exhibition Details: The First Emperor – China’s entombed warriors
Open until the 13th March 2011.
- $20.00 adults
- $15.00 members/concession
- $55.00 family (2 adults + up to 3 children)
- $5.00 student in booked school group
- $15.00 children 5-15 and full-time students. Under 5 free