Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, July 03, 2009

The First Emperor of China

This month's Smithsonian magazine features an article about the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi, and is terra cotta army. The article is accompanied by many wonderful pictures. The online version has some extras. It's well worth looking up.

Some of the terra cotta soldiers will be part of a traveling exhibition which will visit museums across the United States.


Madame Strange said...

weird I was just reading that article literally thirteen seconds ago. I put down the magazine and came to your blog. weird.

Sensei Strange

Rick said...

This is Rick from

I was just watching the history channel tonight (July 3rd) and they re-showed the first emperor of china show...

Timely as always my friend!

walt said...

Excerpted from For The Time Being, by Annie Dillard:

"Emperor Qin was almost forty by then, and getting nervous. Surely power and wealth could secure immortality? At that time, intelligence held that immortality, while elusive like a treasure or a bird, could enter some people's hands if they sought it mightily and used all means. The emperor sacrificed to mountains and rivers; he walked beaches, looking for immortals. He sent scholars to search for a famous Taoist master who had foiled death by eating a flower. No one could find him.

Taoist monks, then and now, run medical laboratories. The emperor ordered the monks to brew a batch of immortality elixer, under pain of death. Consequently, they took those pains. Again, it was common knowledge that immortal people lived on three Pacific islands, where they drank a concoction that proofed their bodies against time. The emperor sent a fleet of ships to find the islands and fetch the philter. Many months later the expedition's captain returned. He knew he faced death for failing. He told the emperor he had actually met an immortal, who, alas, would not release the philter without the gift of many young people and craftsmen. The emperor complied. Away sailed the same canny captain with many ships bearing three thousand skilled and comely young people. They never returned. A widely known Chinese legend claims they colonized Japan."

Rick Matz said...

It's a fascinating time in history.