Saturday 21st April 2018, 10.50am (day 2,431)
I once started digging over a neglected patch of weeds in our allotment and a few weeks later was still going, pulling out all sorts of junk including an old oil drum and substantial remnants of what, thirty years before, had probably been a greenhouse. It was a pain in the arse, but nevertheless I did wonder what I was going to find, so it had a strange fascination to it. A dead body, I was expecting at one point.
Imagine then the feelings of the guys who in 1974 started digging a well a few miles from Xi’an, in China, and uncovered the first inklings of the massive army of thousands of life-size clay figures that we now call the Terracotta Warriors. Forty-four years later, they’re still digging and still pulling them out. Seven of the figures are currently off on a world tour, and presently displayed in an exhibition in the World Museum, Liverpool. It’s their individuality that impresses — and yet, it was probably easier for the makers to construct them all different rather than all the same, as each was made individually, not mass-produced in a mold. They don’t do much, of course — but they were worth seeing. At least, it gives you an insight into just how megalomaniac were ancient rulers like Emperor Qin.