Xian's Terracotta Army is famous around the globe, putting Xi'an on the list of not-to-be-missed destinations in China. It is monumental and iconic, but also crowded and touristy.
Quiet by comparison, the fascinating nearby Han Yang Ling tomb is the final resting place of Emperor Liu Qi and his wife Empress Wang. Less famous because its warriors are not life size, the tomb contains figures, which are smaller, straight, thin and armless. The nearly 5,000 clay soldiers, horses, and other relics are done in a unique style, shedding light on the society at that time.
The exhibit itself shows some of the pits that have been excavated around the tomb. The way it is presented is clever; tombs have been dug and artifacts left as they lay. Visitors can walk on glass floors over the pit as they look down at the discovery or on paths below the surface alongside the pits.
For those looking to make a trip out to Xi'an, this museum is quite a worthwhile addition to an itinerary. Of the many archaeological sites around the city, this is perhaps the most underrated and therefore least visited. Located on the way to the airport, it is most convenient to visit while transiting to or from the airport.
The China Guide offers high quality tours with no shopping stops, great local cuisine, hospitable guides and service-oriented agents. The company is wholly owned and operated by American Peter Danford in Beijing.