Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shu Ming Tombs

The royal family in 1550AD buried their dead in the Shu Ming Tombs in Chengdu, along with at least 500 statues of glazed warriors, horses, dancers and musicians.  Recently, some of these tombs have been excavated, and they are open to the public.....if you know where to go.  We took a cab with our neighbor, Don, to the park where the tombs are located.  We walked through the park where there were hundreds of mahjong tables, a few tea houses and a lovely koi pond.

See all the orange koi?  She's feeding them something.
We wandered through the park, and as we passed one building, we could hear Pres. Obama's voice in English.  There was a group of students listening and taking notes.  We wondered what that was all about.

We still couldn't see any tombs.  We found some buildings that looked like they might have tombs inside, but they were locked up.

The weather wasn't yet warm, but Kirk wanted to wear his plaid shorts he bought in Cambodia.  As we walked past another community building, a group of women came out and pointed and laughed and scolded him for being too cold.  (We are still teasing him about his crazy shorts.)  Fortunately, one of the women had lived in America and spoke some English.  We asked her about the tombs, and she took us to a caretaker's office where a man came out, sold us a ticket, and unlocked the museum for us to see the artifacts.

The clay figures are terra cotta, like the famous warriors in Xi'an, but these still have the colored glazing and are, of course, much smaller.  They were each unique, and very interesting.  The "museum" was just a room of a building, and there weren't any fancy displays, but at least they are available for public viewing....if you know where to find the man with the key. 

I tried to find more information on the internet about what we saw next, but the Chinese translations are not always clear.  It's not an important enough tourist destination that it's in the Lonely Planet.  One thing for sure, these are tombs.
This tomb had one casket.

This tomb is deep in the ground, but there are decorative "buildings" along the walls.

This tomb, down a different staircase, had places for six caskets.

It was very interesting to see, and especially amazing that we were allowed to descend into the two tombs and walk all through them!  

As we walked back through the park, we went by the building where the students had been listening to Obama.  A couple of adults came out and Kirk chatted with them, and they invited us in to speak to the students.  They said they were having an English class, but students were also giving some kinds of motivational speeches.  The students would pump their arm in the air and shout and someone in back played raucous music for a few moments over the speaker as they all cheered for whoever spoke.  (Was this an Amway meeting?)  One of the walls had a banner that said something like "God wants for all of us to be happy in the end."  We wondered if it was a Christian group.  When Kirk got up to speak, we were in for a surprise!

Chinese Student Rally

(Maybe they're just cheering for his shorts.)

We spoke to them a little bit about ourselves, why we were in China, and our families back in America.  We always get a huge response when they hear we have FIVE children and TWELVE grandchildren!!  We each took a turn speaking, and Kirk made me sing "Oh, My Daddy's Got a Fiddle", which they all clapped along with.  (That's one of my Dad's classic tunes.)  We had to stay for another 20 minutes after speaking because EVERYONE had to get a photo with the foreigners.

So ends another adventure in Chengdu.  We are  hoping we won't be deported for inciting unrest among the students or attending a subversive movement rally. 

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