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Exhibition of First Emperor:China's Terracotta Army was formally launched in the British Museum
2007/09/04

In the evening of September 11, Chen Kuiyuan, Vice Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and President of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of UK, attended the opening ceremony of the Exhibition of First Emperor:China's Terracotta Army held in the British Museum and delivered speeches, H.E. Mme. Ambassador Fu Ying was present and accompanied Brown to visit the exhibition together with Chen Kuiyuan. Pan Liansheng, Vice Director of Shaanxi Provincial People's Congress, and James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport of UK, also attended the ceremony.

   Chen Kuiyuan warmly celebrated the opening of the exhibition. He said that the development of the relations between China and UK had a good momentum and there were frequent exchanges and close cooperation in all fields, he believed the exhibition would certainly enhance the understanding of all walks of life in UK to the Chinese culture and he wished the exhibition a complete success.

Prime Minister Brown expressed his thanks to Chen Kuiyuan and Fu Ying for attending the ceremony and to the Chinese government and relevant departments of the two sides for their endeavors in the preparation of the exhibition. Brown said it was a great day to UK and the exhibition in UK was a "transcontinental gift" presented by China to UK and was the "summit" of the cultural exchanges between the two countries. Brown said that the last fortunate visitor of the exhibition would be the torch bearer of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on behalf of UK and therefore the exhibition was also a "cultural Olympic Games". He also mentioned the large-scale cultural event -- "China Now" to be held in UK in 2008, he said that the successive holding of the Exhibition of the first Emperor: China's Terracotta Army and China Now was a good testmony for the increasingly close friendship and cooperation relationship between the two countries. Brown also shared his feelings of visiting the exhibition with great interest. He said that in his eyes, every exhibit was carved with delicate touches and was so true to life. The artistic value of the exhibits could not be judged with modern standards and they were all "great artistic works".

Gordon Brown concluded at last: "This exhibition signals that the relationship between China and UK is getter better and better, now is the most important time ever for the two countries to enhancing the understanding and cooperation, whether in the development problems and climate changes or the international trade issues. To celebrate the fruitful cooperation of the two countries in the aspects of culture, society and politics, I am very happy to declare the formal opening of this exhibition." Brown then put in the pupils of the eyes of a Chinese lion and the exhibition opened formally.

      During the ceremony, Brown had a friendly conversation with Chen Kuiyuan and thanked Chen for conveying the greetings of Premier Wen Jiabao, Brown said he was expecting his visit to China. Brown also expressed his sincere thanks to the delegation of Shaanxi Province.

      This exhibition is the result of the two-year negotiation and preparation of the two sides. In order to make the exhibition a success, the British Museum began to redesign and convert the reading room of the formal British Library at the center of the museum in March 2007, after a half-year careful preparation, an exquisite full view of the Emperor Qinshihuang times appeared in the reading room. Once you step in the reading room, you will feel the august vigour: the dim lights, lofty dome and flaring images make you feel as if you were in the huge tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang…

What is more exclamatory is the layout of the exhibits. The contents of this exhibition include two parts: the great exploit of unifying China by Emperor Qinshihuang before his death and the "glory" after his death. The first part introduces how Emperor Qinshihuang destroyed the six states and unified China. When you are appreciating the rare censers, jade articles and drinking vessels and reading the abstract introduction about the "unification of characters, vehicles, weights and measures", the glorious Qin Empire more than 2,000 years ago will appear in your mind. The latter part introduces the "eternal world" after the death of Emperor Qinshihuang and it is the essence of the exhibition. Dozens of terracotta warriors and horses are arrayed artfully and form an exquisite chariot formation. When walking around, the visitors can have a face-to-face communion with the warriors of Emperor Qinshihuang lived more than 2,000 years ago. At the same time, such top-quality products as terracotta officials, terracotta musicians and terracotta acrobats that are hard to be seen are also displayed there. Through the introduction of the models, pictures, characters and the simulated images by the computers, the visitors can have a overall knowledge about the history and making of the terracotta warriors and horses and the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang.

    

  This exhibition is the overseas exhibition of Chinese terracotta warriors and horses with the biggest amount of exhibits and the first large-scale with the theme of Emperor Qinshihuang by the British Museum. A total of 20 terracotta warriors and horses and 100 other historic relics of the Qin Dynasty are displayed, the exhibition will be formally open to the public on September 13 and will last till April 6, 2008. The exhibition has won the broad attention of all walks of UK ever since the beginning of its preparation and 138,000 tickets have been pre-sold till now.

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