Thursday, 12 October 2017

Silk Road: Leitai Han Tomb

The Flying Horse in its glory finally revealed at Leitai Han Tomb
When I was a kid, I remember my father bringing home a statue of a horse that was running so fast it was captured balancing on one foot. He glued it onto a granite slab, and while I thought the horse looked pretty cool, I didn't understand the significance of it -- until decades later.

An army of soldiers and horses led by the Flying Horse
It is known as the Flying Horse, galloping so quickly that it is stepping on a bird. The original statue was found at Leitai Han Tomb in 1969 when some farmers stumbled upon the tomb of an official from the Han Dynasty which held funeral treasures. The horse was quickly adopted by Lanzhou as its official symbol and you can see replicas of it displayed everywhere, like the airport and other government buildings.

The actual statue is quite tiny, along with an entire cavalcade of soldiers, horses and chariots. They can be seen in a museum, while much larger versions of them are displayed above ground.

It is believed the rest of the treasures were stolen by robbers...

Visitors can also go down into the actual tombs, which entails going down a long dark narrow path before you finally reach the end, which is very cool, but there's nothing to see, except the ceiling that is made of brick but reinforced with a metal web.

Farmers would pray to the God of Thunder
We went down into two tombs when once was plenty.

Above ground is Leitai Temple, Leitai referring to the God of Thunder, that farmers would pray to for rain to have a good harvest.

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