These photos are from the Great Mosque of Xi'an. Our hotel is located near the Muslim district here in Xi'an. My friends Chris, Donna, and Jeremy accompanied me to check out the mosque. The area is really peaceful, and beautiful. Comparing the Chinese Muslim mosque aesthetic to that of the Ottoman Turks is interesting, and the contrast is striking.
Today we visited the Xi'an Museum of history, which had so many wonderful exhibits on Chinese history. My imagination was all over the place. The Museum contained the finest artwork and artifacts dating from 5000 BC to the 1700's. The weather has been cloudy and rainy here, but we weary travelers are nothing but smiles.
Day 2 in Xi'an finds us visiting a place called the Stone Forest. The stone forest contains hundreds of these huge slabs of marble and stone with ancient texts, poems, and other writings carved into them. The stones were used to preserve important texts, whereas paper might be burnt, or disintegrate.
Today we traveled into the mountains outside of Xi'an to a tiny little, dying, pottery town, called Chen Lu. The town is located on the mountain side, and was at one time called the city of light because there where always kilns burning brightly somewhere in the town. We visited an old, famous potters studio who is a friend of Bob's. We had an exciting day all around, especially during the ride up and down the winding, mountainous road.
We are in Xi'an, which is a city of some where between 10 and 15 million people. We traveled outside the city today to see the famed Terra-Cotta Soldiers of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's funerary guard. These sculptures where first discovered by a farmer in the 1970's. A large amount of the grave guard has been uncovered, but it is said that a large amount is still yet to be uncovered, it is being called the 8th wonder of the world. I had a nice time letting my imagination wander, meditating on how much man power and energy the creators of this place put into it, and what their lives must have been like.
We leave for the airport today in order to travel to Xi'an. I went out this morning to find the fake factory that I have been searching for. I found a section of the city where most of the shops sell "antiques" and I found a few places that make the pots that become the "antiques". Most of the ware at the Antique market is made like normal, but then the sellers will rub in dirt and oil onto the surface to age the ceramics. I have even heard they sometimes bury the pieces in dirt for an extended time to age them. I also found a box makers shop (When you buy a pots here they usually put them in these really fancy looking, cheaply made boxes, that are really cool. I also found a paper shop that was so nice (I love paper).
This morning we climbed the mountain again, and this time my camera had batteries. I went with my friend JuFang, Daniel, Wei, Wei's mother. We left really early in the morning so the slope was quite slippery, which made the climb quite the adventure. Wei's mother was amazing at climbing, and made me feel like a baby billy goat who is just learning to walk.
I love the feeling of looking out on the city, because it puts things into perspective in regards to my individual smallness. I like the idea of one of a million, it helps take the stress away from the "importance" of my life.