Topless terra-cotta warriors attract tourists to inland

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Date: Jan. 6, 2012
Publisher: COMTEX News Network, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 366 words
Content Level: (Level 5)
Lexile Measure: 1740L

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XI'AN, Jan 06, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A new display of lately unearthed terra-cotta warriors, escorting the first Chinese emperor, helped attract overseas travellers to the inland province of Shaanxi, which has seen a record high 184 million tourist arrivals and the highest annual tourism income in 2011.

The Museum of Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses of Emperor Qinshihuang took out the ancient earthen troops, wearing skirts but topless for performing arts and skills, to the 3,000-square meters roofed exhibitions, near the first imperial tomb.

The museum was visited in 2011 by 5.273 million global tourists, an increase of 31.21 percent year on year.

After a ten-year excavation and research, archaeologists found that the player figures, quite different from the combat figures discovered before, wore no armors or helmets but gestured for entertaining the royal circle, such as dancing, wrestling and performing acrobatics.

Zhang Weixing, head of the museum's archaeological arm, expected to expose more underground myths to the public after the ongoing second excavation.

The current motionless shows, accompanied by intriguing stories of more than 2,200 years ago, contributed one big chunk to the 2011 tickets income of 480 million yuan (76.2 million U.S. dollars) and related gaining from museum souvenirs and publications.

The provincial tourism bureau told Xinhua Friday that the northwestern province earned 126.5 billion yuan from tourism in 2011, accounting for one tenth of its gross domestic product.

Shaanxi is famed for not only the terra-cotta warriors, which constitute the essence of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, but also for imperial relics, a buddhist temple harboring holy signs and nature reserves.

Dong Xianmin, who heads the provincial tourism bureau, said, "We are eager to show the world the splendid heritage and culture of the Chinese nation."

World politicians and dignitaries including Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Francois Mitterrand and Queen Elizabeth II and Helmut Kohl all visited Shaanxi and the must-go point of interest, the terra-cotta warriors.

The latest available nationwide statistics of the National Tourism Administration showed that China saw 134 million overseas tourist visits and 2.1 billion domestic visits in 2010, earning 1.57 trillion yuan for the tourism industry.

Copyright 2012 XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

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