Chinese Army Heads to London. You Can Hang With Them!

Though you might be thinking about heading to China to check out the Great Wall, dozens of Chinese soldiers are heading to London. Okay, so the soldiers are part of the famed Terracotta Army, and their destination is the British Museum, but they’re still coming.

For those who don’t know, the Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 by farmers seeking water. Imagine their surprise when they overturned the soil, and the face of an ancient warrior glowered back at them. So far, about 1000 terracotta figures have been unearthed; experts believe there may be 7000 more buried under ground. (Can’t picture what thousands of clay warriors look like? Check out this pano of them in an exhibition hall.)

The army attacks London in September, and in addition to the warriors, the exhibition will include bureaucrats, musicians, and acrobats. Wait — bureaucrats?! According to Jane Portal, the museum’s curator, “Since China is famous for inventing bureaucracy, it is appropriate that the First Emperor felt the need for officials in his afterlife.” Apparently, the figures are thought to be bureaucrats because they wear no armor, and because they carry knives and knife-sharpeners for scraping off and erasing mistakes. Despite thousands of years, it appears the role of the bureaucrat hasn’t changed much.