A Lesson from the Warriors: Stay Amazed!
The warriors I am talking about are the Terracotta Warriors, from a current exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), here in Richmond. The lesson is about staying amazed, even when you think you have seen it all.
The special exhibit is called: Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China.
According to the VMFA website …
First discovered in 1974 by farmers in China, an underground army of nearly 8,000 life-size terracotta figures is known as one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century. Discovered one mile east of the known burial site of the First Emperor of China (r. 221–210 BC)…the terracotta army was created to accompany the emperor to the afterlife. This exhibition features ten majestic terracotta figures, including a cavalry horse, among 130 works that tell the story of China’s birth and one man’s lasting imprint on a nation.
In the exhibit’s photos of the excavation, you can see that as they were unearthed, the life-sized warriors were lined up, standing one after the other in the huge pit, defending the emperor in death, just as in life. There were 8,000 warriors…and they were hidden for over 2,ooo years! In addition to the warriors, the burial tomb includes full-size horses and chariots and many other artifacts such as weapons, armor, jewelry, and vessels. Among the photos on this page, you can see a chariot with a rider and horses, completely excavated and preserved. Can you imagine unearthing such a treasure? The level of human endeavor the warriors represent defies belief. What is also mind-bending is that the figures that were unearthed only represent 20% of the total. The rest remain hidden underground with the Emperor’s tomb, a mystery.
What a world!
I saw the exhibit twice, first with my family—we love VMFA and had an early Christmas dinner there and took in the exhibit afterward. More recently I saw the exhibit with my dear friend and Boomer Connections photographer Loralee. She had read about the warriors when she was a child and they were first discovered, back in the 70s. She was beside herself with the opportunity to see this treasure, and her enthusiasm was infectious.
As I viewed the warriors a second time, I could not help but be reminded of the wonder such a viewing inspires, and the appreciation for a community resource like VMFA that makes it happen. And once again I feel committed to honor that sense of wonder here at Boomer Connections.
The good news is that admittance to the VMFA is free and the museum is open 356 days–yes every day of the year! Hours are daily from 10-5, with extended hours until 10 PM on Thursday and Friday. While admission to the museum is free, tickets to the special exhibits are not, unless you are a member. Admission to the Terracotta Army exhibit for non-members is as follows:
$20 per adult/$16 for Seniors 65+/$10 for college students and youth age 7-17/children 6 and under free.
As for membership: My family has a Dual/Family membership, which costs $95 annually. Other options: $60 for individual membership/$50 for teachers and Seniors/$10 for students.
Besides the special exhibits and galleries filled with works of art, the museum offers a large roster of classes and programs for all ages.
My daughter spent many wonderful creative hours at VMFA as a child taking classes, and later as a teen served as a designer’s model for the Teen Stylin’ program, which encourages young artists interested in fashion design. I have taken both art and writing classes at the museum, and met some very cool people in the process.
VMFA also boasts a fantastic upscale restaurant, Amuse.
I love Amuse for many reasons and many happy memories, but am especially enchanted by the delightful fancy cocktails that are themed according to the special exhibits. The more casual Best Café is also a treat, especially the muffins, with a little cup of espresso. Can’t forget about the food and drink….always adds to the experience.
All of this beauty, all of this art, all of this fabulousness: Sometimes I can hardly believe it. The other day when I wrote about our public libraries I was trying to make the same point: So many valuable and exciting resources are available to us without even a cost for admission. And soon I am starting a series about the State and National Parks, another incredible public resource. Even if you don’t live in Richmond, chances are you have museums close by, as well as parks and libraries. Largely free of charge and just waiting to be explored!
If you are a Richmonder or planning a visit, keep in mind that the Terracotta Army special exhibit is only at the VMFA until March 11! This exhibit will certainly push the wonder button. Don’t miss it.