An exhibition, "Warriors, Tombs, and Temples: China's Enduring Legacy," was inaugurated Wednesday at the fourth largest U.S. city of Houston.
The exhibition will give local residents a rare opportunity to view about 200 valuable pieces of artifacts, including the famous Terra Cotta Warriors, from China's three most powerful dynasties.
Officials from the Chinese Consulate-General in Houston and representatives from various businesses attended the opening ceremony held at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the local sponsor of the exhibit.
Making their debut in the United States, the 200 incredibly preserved ancient works of art featured newly-discovered artifacts unearthed from imperial, royal and elite tombs, as well as from beneath Buddhist monasteries in and around the capital cities of three Chinese dynasties, namely, the Qin dynasty, the Han dynasty and the Tang dynasty, all located near the modern Chinese city of Xi'an in Shaanxi province.
The exhibition featured four of the famous life-size Terra Cotta Warriors, protectors of China's first emperor Qin Shihuang, whose mausoleum complex is considered the eight wonder of the world. Among the warriors, the rarest one is a Terra Cott Warrior whose face was painted green. The warrior has rarely been on display even in China.
Smaller in scale but equally impressive are the terra cotta warriors from the imperial tomb complex of Han emperor Gaozu. Objects from the Tang dynasty include gold dragons, fine ornaments, an exquisite tomb demon and other luxuries.
"The objects in the exhibition are drawn from three of the greatest and most important dynasties in Chinese history: the Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties," said Dirk Van Tuerenhout, curator of anthropology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. "What visitors will see in this exhibit differs from our previous one, 'Terra Cotta Warriors' in two significant ways. This exhibit displays objects from three - rather than one - dynasties."
A Terra Cotta Warrior exhibition was held at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in 2009, drawing the attendance of more than 200,000 people, making that exhibit one of the most popular exhibitions at the museum.
This year's exhibit "spans 1,100 years, and moreover, some of the Qin-era Terra Cotta Warrior statues shown at this exhibit are recent discoveries that were excavated while our previous show was here," said Van Tuerenhout.
Zhang Wen, deputy director of Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau and head of the Chinese delegation at the exhibition, said the artifacts on display in Houston come from nine museums and institutes in Shaanxi province and most of the items are very valuable and representative of the ancient Chinese culture.
"Through these artifacts, American people can have a glimpse of China's ancient culture and get a deeper understanding of China. This kind of cultural exchange is meaningful," said Zhang.
Houston is the second and also last stop of the exhibition in the United States. Before moving to Houston, "Warriors, Tombs, and Temples: China's Enduring Legacy" was displayed at California's Bowers Museum.