Terra Cotta Warriors, chariot exhibit

Terra Cotta Warriors, museum exhibits
Pit 1, Terra Cotta Warriors

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When the Emperor went out, he decided to take his ride with him.  Terra Cotta horses and an attached chariot were buried.  The horses’ gear, the saddles, and carriages were all faithfully reproduced using copper, brass and quite a bit of gold.

The excavation team did a wonderful job restoring the chariot and horses to their current form.  The weight of the earth had crushed them all flat and it took quite a bit of puzzle work to put them all together again.

They even mounted a Terra Cotta Warrior driver up on top of the chariot to chauffeur the Emperor in the afterlife.

Photographing these chariots proved to be a challenging exercise.  The room was very dark requiring long shutter speeds.  This proved a challenge and required the use of a tripod.  The only problem was that I did not have a full-sized tripod and there were no shelves or ledges to set my camera on.  Additionally, the horses were encased in glass causing terrible reflections if a flash was used.  I shot the first photo by actually sticking my camera against the opposite wall of the exhibit and used a timer; I clicked the shutter and then put the camera against the wall letting it stabilize and become still before the 2 second shutter opened and then closed.  I was quite pleased with the results.

Even when I didn’t use a flash, there was quite a bit of back glare if the horses were shot straight on.  As a result, I had to take my shots at quartering angles.  This proved to be a challenge as I could not mount the camera flush with the glass to minimize movement.  I ended up compromising by putting a book against the glass laying the right edge of the camera against the glass directly and the left edge of the camera rested on the edge of the book.  In this way I was able to stop any movement for the long shutter speed (1.3 seconds, f2.8).


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Terra Cotta Warriors, museum exhibits
Pit 1, Terra Cotta Warriors

5 thoughts on “Terra Cotta Warriors, chariot exhibit

  1. Hi, i just thought i’d post and let you know that your chariot photos are great. I tried the same but mine were just a blur.

      • they put a sign up saying ” no flash and no tripods”
        apparently the flash isnt enforced so i do not know about the tripods though someone let me know if the latter is enforced or not… was very crowded when i was there…

        .. in all the buildings… and people dont pay attention if you did set up a tripod… you may end up wanting to whack some of the locals over the head with it .. i suggest a monopod see if that works.. i did get some half decent shots with a 35 f 1.8 lens and only slightly blurry.. Still beautiful exhibit…

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