Sombre ‘Terracota Army’ display in Xi’an is crowned best museum in Asia

Thousands of ‘Terracotta Army’ warriors stand in the museum vault. Pic: Colin Capelle/flickr

CHINA’s Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses that houses the iconic Terrocotta Army was hailed by TripAdvisor as the best museum in Asia.

The Xi’an attraction is largely considered to be one of the greatest archaeological finds in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also often called the “eighth wonder of the world”.

The exhibit features thousands of life-sized sculptures of soldiers, horses, and chariots in battle that once served Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.

The display is significant because of the hundreds of detailed life-size models that represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies in the Warring States Period, and who ushered in the united imperial China era some 2,200 years ago.

Pic: dbkfrog/flickr

Some of the sculptures of warriors are without faces and arms, and studies have shown that parts of the torso were built separately and manually assembled.

It’s also believed that after assembly, clay was applied to the surface of the sculptures so that the artists could model the faces and hairdos individually. This means that every sculpture – like humans are – is intricately different from the rest.

In a separate vault of the museum, you’ll find sculptures of horses and carriages, made mostly of bronze. The exhibits are hailed as some of the most best-preserved pieces of bronze relics in Chinese history.

Second in the list is the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh that houses thousands of photographs, artefacts and films, each of which are a solemn reminder of a brutal past.

The War Remnants Museum is a reminder of a painful past. Pic: The Travelling Blackberry

Bear in mind that some of the photos on display are graphic and may be deeply affecting; some portray photos of children affected by US bombing and napalming, and artefacts of the notorious “tiger cages” used to keep Viet Cong prisoners.

Here’s the full list of best museums in Asia:

  1. The Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, Xi’an
  2. War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh
  3. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh
  4. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima
  5. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi
  6. Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum and Walking Trail, Saiyok
  7. National Palace Museum, Taipei
  8. Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur
  9. Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong
  10. Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Penang
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was titled the best museum in the world. Pic: MTA

Despite the visual nature of some of Asia’s best museums, none failed to make the top ten of the world’s best museums, largely dominated by American and European museums.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City clinched the title of best in the world, followed by The Art Institute of Chicago, and The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

Entries in the list were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

SEE ALSO: Taiwan and China sneak into list of world’s most popular museums