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Buried Alive!

Terracotta Warriors & Me

Terracotta Warriors

1984: Tourism in China is basic. We are visiting the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. The group lingers over lunch while I am drawn towards them by an ever-stronger magnet. I head off by myself, almost running, glad for the solitude. Only one pit is open, the most dramatic of them all. Over 6000 warriors, immaculate in their uniformity, confront me. I am overwhelmed by their majesty, the magnitude of the original undertaking and I can’t conceive of how many slaves (I assume) it must have taken to create this necropolis.

1997: Tourism has matured. Back in Xi’an I only vaguely remember the pull from the previous visit. But it hasn’t forgotten me. The tug is just as strong. Again I marvel at the enormity of the site, the warriors unwavering in their rigid lines, still just as overwhelming. I wonder about possible past lives.

2013: Tourism is now opulent. This time I’m ahead of that invisible rope dragging me towards the Warriors. Despite the previous visits, I am still in awe, my wonder even stronger.

This time I’m reduced to tears and as I leave I feel obliged to say good-bye. They are all family. ‘See you again on the other side.’

2014: A past-life regression provides the answer: I was one of the thousands of slaves who carved the Warriors. It was my whole life’s work. When the project was finished, the workers became a liability. So we were herded into an open trench and… buried alive.

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