• Forbidden Gardens: Postcard
    Located just west of Houston of IH-10 in the suburb of Katy, Texas, is the Forbidden Gardens, a little bit of China in Houston. It is open on Fri, Sat, & Sun only and a guided tour is included with the admission. Tours start on the hour from 11-3 and the museum is open from 10-5, but admissions close at 3:30. It's privately funded, costing over $40 million to construct and located on over 80 acres of land. It's a lovely place to spend a day with good weather.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Sentinel
    This lonely sentinel keeps watch on the outside of the moat that surrounds the entrance. You walk over a bridge into the ticket gate beyond which is a large plaza.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Lion
    A lion and a foo dog keep watch over the sunny plaza. It has a gift shop on one side, exhibits on the others as well as gates. One gate goes out to the replica of Qin's tomb on the side and the other to the pavilion housing the replica of the Forbidden City.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Qin's vast army
    At the very back of his troops sits the Emperor Qin. He was the first to succeed in unifying China, in the 200 BCs. He began the work on the Great Wall. To accompany him in his tomb, he had his army replicated in terra cotta.
  • Forbidden Gardens: The Terracotta Army
    This terracotta army consisted of 8,099 life-sized figures, each unique, presumably modeled after real soldiers and horses. It was discovered in 1974 near Xian, and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Forbidden Gardens: The army in formation
    Farmers building a well discovered the first shards of terra cotta. Some of the complex is yet to be excavated, but what we have today is truly amazing. Placed to help Qin rule in the afterlife, the figures were constructed over a 38-year period. Altogether, about 700,000 workers were believed to have been involved in constructing the entire mausoleum complex.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Scale model replicas
    The figures vary in height, uniform, and hairstyle according to rank and were placed in pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty. Originally, each had a colored lacquer finish and real weapons and armor, although the weapons were stolen and the color is now gone.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Charioteers.
    According to Chinese historians, about five years after Qin's death, General Xiang Yu raided the tomb complex and set fire to it. The blaze is reported to have lasted for three months. Wooden support timbers collapsed, but much of the Terracotta Army survived relatively intact. The reins, harnessing, and wagon for these figures no longer exist.
  • Forbidden Gardens: The archer
    The exhibit here has about 6,000 soldiers and most are scale models. A few, like this archer are life-sized.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Qins soldiers
    The life-sized statues seem so real, in part because of the varying details fo their poses, attire, faces, and expressions.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Wagons and horses
    Even the horses are different
  • Forbidden Gardens: Cart driver
    Frozen in time, this cart driver was urging on his team
  • Forbidden Gardens: Life sized soldiers
  • Forbidden Gardens: In the cart
    More solider's frozen in motion
  • Forbidden Gardens: Soldiers on the move
  • Forbidden Gardens: From the back
  • Forbidden Gardens: Another wagon
    Reportedly, the pottery warriors in China may be succumbing finally to pollutants and molds from temperature and humidity changes.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Weapons
    The armory exhibit has weapons that might have been carried by the soldiers.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Battle drum
  • Forbidden Gardens: Chariot
    A light cart or chariot of this sort might have been what the horses above pulled before the fire.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Soldier on display in the amory
  • Forbidden Gardens: Another armed guard
  • Forbidden Gardens: The table is laid
  • Forbidden Gardens: Typical attire
  • Forbidden Gardens: Imperial seat
    Many times, stylized statues of lions and dogs flank doorways, gates, seats, etc.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Foo dog to guard
  • Forbidden Gardens: Imperial sedan
  • Forbidden Gardens: Sedan from the side
    Anything worn by or associated with the Emperor or his family would have symbolic decorations.
  • Forbidden Gardens:Detail of sedan chair
  • Forbidden Gardens:Detail of the sedan chair
  • Forbidden Gardens: Chinese construction style
  • Forbidden Gardens: Another construction style
  • Forbidden Gardens: In front of the palace is Tianamen Square
    This scale model of the Forbidden City in Beijing is a faithful rendition on a 1:20 scale. It's protected from the weather by a pavilion and covers almost an acre.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Forbidden City Pagoda
    The palace is now a museum. It originally covered 178 acres and had 800 buildings with almost a thousand rooms. It is a World Heritage Site. No one but members of the imperial household could enter the city without the Emperor's permission, which is how it got its name.
  • Forbidden Gardens: Forbidden City from the side
  • Forbidden Gardens: Forbidden City
  • Forbidden Gardens: Model of Suzhou, the Venice of China
    This scale model occupies both side of a large room. Apparently not much has changed there, since when we were visiting a few years ago, someone said they'd just been there and recognized a shop building in the model as one they had been to!
  • Forbidden Gardens: Suzhou
  • Forbidden Gardens: Suzhou
  • Forbidden Gardens: Suzhou
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