Female Terracotta Warriors Deliver Peace Message


Regarded as the important symbol of the Chinese cultural treasure, Terra-cotta Warriors, one of the eighth wonders of the world, were hidden underground buried with Emperor in Qin Dynasty for over two millennia. But now another army, made of women and children, have come to people's sights, telling vivid stories about the cruelty of war.

The array of soldiers, created by 50-year-old Norwegian artist Marian Heyerdahl, has been on display recently in 798 Space, a gallery in a trendy art community "Dashanzi" in Beijing. Modeled after the famous terracotta soldiers in ancient capital city Xi'an in northwest China, the army consists of 57 statue terracotta warriors in the form of women and children, which attracting many Chinese and foreign visitors.

Those female Terra-cotta Warriors retain the original body shape of their male counterparts with the identical warrior-like outfit, so visitors may easily mistake them for men when they see from behind. But the artist has been re-sculpting the fronts of the statues by adding female attributes.

Using women to replace men, Marian revealed that she wants to focus on the suffering and the pain that women and children endure during the war in a symbolic way.

The group of women soldiers have a variety of hand gestures, facial expressions and hairstyles. Some have their mouths open as if they're screaming, others have their eyes closed in fear. Some are smiling and some are even pregnant. Describing her art works, Heyerdahl says each of which carries a special message.

The faces of the children also seem to show the anguish and hopelessness of loosing their home, parents and hope.

Besides the suffering brought by war, she said she also wanted to express the historical role and status of women as well as issues on the unrecognized dominant state of women in society.

She also plans to add some multi-media elements including a DVD of war that will be seen on screens in the stomachs of a number of the statues.

Marian had spent more than one year collecting materials and learning to use clay and traditional techniques from Chinese skilled workers in Xi'an.

She hopes her pieces could serve as a documentary about the experiences of women throughout history and modern life. She also hopes people could stop and calm down to think about the wounds of war both physically and mentally.

The exhibition of female warriors will last to 9 March. Beijing is the first stop. She will also take some of her pieces to South Korea, Norway, and the United States.

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