The Terra Cotta Warriors and the Emperor They Protect Seem Eerily Familiar

Separated at Afterlife
The Terra Cotta Warriors and the emperor they protect seem eerily familiar

We're taking a calculated risk here that our readers aren't Terra-Cotta-Warriored-out by now. What with all the hoopla over their arrival at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art (including a Greg Stacy review of the show in the Culture section of this very issue), you might be forgiven for being just plain sick of stories about the First Emperor and his mudpie minions.

Assuming you haven't declared your own personal global war on terra cotta, we've decided to share with you a stunning insight that struck managing editor Rich Kane while perusing the press materials for the exhibit. The way Qin Shi Huang is described should, well, ring a few bells to anyone paying attention to the news in these parts:

"China's First Emperor, the boy king who united the country in 221 B.C. and began construction of the first Great Wall, was not only obsessed with building but also a fanatic about death. After experimenting with potions to prolong his life, the megalomaniac king resigned himself to death on his own terms. He would build a standing army of 7,000 soldiers to enforce his rule over the afterlife."

Sound like anyone you know? Well, actually, these and other imperial traits sound like a bunch of people we know. (And yes, Mike Carona is one of them, smartass. That's enough out of you.)

Which could be kind of confusing for the warriors themselves. Let's just say—and why not?—that Joss Whedon was allowed to guest-direct one day in the life of Orange County, and the Terra Cotta Warriors all sprang to life, ready to do the bidding of the most authoritarian figure they could find. To whose banner would they rally?

Hmm . . . [cue harp]


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