The wire services today published a bizarre story today about a German art student who dressed up like a terra-cotta warrior, snuck into the pit where they are displayed, and stood at attention for a few minutes before he was spotted by police and arrested! Here's the full story from AP:
A German art student tried to join a Chinese dynasty's army — but he volunteered centuries too late. The 26-year-old man — identified only as "Pablo" or by his Chinese name "Ma Lin" — made a dusty brown suit of armor, a tunic and a helmet, and attempted to blend in with the ancient warriors of the terra cotta army in the western city of Xi'an, the Hong Kong newspapers Ming Pao Daily News and Wen Wei Po reported on Monday. The outfit matched the uniforms worn by the thousands of terra cotta soldiers buried in the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shihuangdi, who ruled between 221-210 B.C., the papers said. The soldiers — one of China's greatest archaeological discoveries — are displayed in a Xi'an museum.Pablo entered the museum Saturday with his uniform packed in a suitcase, the papers said. Once inside, he quickly changed into the outfit, jumped over a barrier and joined the soldiers, who stand in hundreds of rows. He blended in so well that security guards had difficulty finding him, Ming Pao said." I got to the area where he was supposed to be, looked around a bit and didn't see Ma Lin," the paper quoted a guard as saying. "He just looked too much like a terra cotta warrior. "The papers showed photos of security guards dragging Pablo out of the excavation pit where the soldiers are displayed. Wen Wei Po quoted Pablo as saying he has been obsessed with the soldiers since his childhood. He reportedly said that he only planned to have a photo of himself taken standing near the museum's excavation pit. "But when I saw the soldiers, I got too excited and just couldn't stop myself from jumping into the pit," he was quoted as saying. Since he didn't damage the soldiers, Pablo was released after getting a lecture from the security officials, the papers said.
Maybe the Tourism Bureau needs to take a lesson from this fellow, and set up a "living history" type of display at the site. They could have warriors walking around talking to people and giving tours! Or pushing people in wheelchairs on the long walk from the parking lot to the display pits. The last time I was there, as I got out of the car, a young man pushing a wheelchair (a wheelchair!!!!) came running and offered to "give me a ride." I assured him that I was quite able and fit enough to walk the half mile on my own two legs. I tried not to be offended, with not too much success.
The police look slightly amused!