Royal Blind Pupils Visit Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition

Posted: 25/02/2014 | Education

Royal Blind School pupils Brandon, Daniel and Myles went on a visit to the Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition at the University of Edinburgh's Old College Quad. The boys had been learning about Chinese New Year when their teacher, Ms Young, found out about the exhibition. The exhibition was arranged by the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh to coincide with the holiday. The Institute is a national centre to promote educational, economic and cultural ties between Scotland and China. 

Ms Young said:

"Prior to our visit, we explored small scale models of some of the original terracotta warriors. It was interesting to learn about this important aspect of Chinese history, especially since we have a friend and fellow pupil at our school who comes from China.

"We learned that the lanterns were inspired by the army of terracotta soldiers, discovered in 1974 when the tomb of the 3rd Century BC First Chinese Emporor Qin Shi Huang was unearthed in the Xi'an province of China. The figures were found in an underground vault of 12,000 square meters and comprised of more than 8,000 terracotta sculptures depicting warriors and horses arranged in battle formation. It is thought that they were created to defend the emperor's immortal soul. 

"On the day we went to the University, it was very busy. Although the exhibition was not designed to be tactile, we were given special permission to explore the lanterns by touch which gave us a very good idea of what they looked like. They were much bigger than we expected, ranging up to 2.5 metres tall.

"Through our exploration, we discovered that there were not only soldiers represented, but also women, children and even a horse! We tried to count them by walking up and down the rows, but it was very difficult as there were over 80 lanterns in total." 

The lanterns were created by Chinese artist Xia Nan for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and this is the first time the warriors were showcased in Scotland.

Ms Young continued:

"We were very excited to learn about the lanterns being at the Beijing Games because that's where our friend and former Royal Blind School pupil, Libby Clegg, won her first Paralympic medal!

"Following our visit to the exhibition, we made our own clay models of the warriors. We had a great time visiting the exhibition and learning about the warriors and would like to thank staff at the University of Edinburgh for making special arrangements for our visit."