As part of our study on China we read Hidden Army: Clay Soldiers of Ancient China by Jane O’Connor. Smarty was already familiar with this amazing discovery and the life of the first Chinese emperor from The Story of the World, but she enjoyed this short chapter book that details how this site was found, excavation process and how archaeologists and artists work together to preserve these priceless works of ancient artists. Of course, a natural extension that went into our “China bucket list” was to “play with clay”.
I was glad to finally bust out Pluffy oven-bake clay that I got at Michael’s more than a year ago and wanted to try out for quite some time. I also got Fun With Modeling Clay book from the library for inspiration and ideas. This probably was a mistake as Smarty immediately wanted to do a pretty advanced project from the book without even being able to make a decent “egg” with clay, but she still had a lot of fun trying to make a person (not a clay warrior, but rather a clay girl) and eventually settled for flattening her project out for baking. We both learned a thing or two about working with clay – it’s harder to work with than play dough or Model Magic, and we should have started with small scale and flat projects. The good part about flat projects that they can also be made into magnets or trinkets once baked.
Working with clay made me appreciate even more the miracle of terracotta warriors of China – both an astounding skill of their creators and the fact that they survived untouched until our times. I am hoping that Qin’s tomb will be excavated as well in our lifetime, and more ancient marvels will be added to the world’s art treasury.