Entombed Warriors – Sydney Art Gallery

Outside

Terracotta Bowman, at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, near Xi'an, China. Photograph by William Sima, August 2008.

Terracotta Bowman, at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, near Xi’an, China. Photograph by William Sima, August 2008.

“Lynette, don’t dab that man”.

A shuffling stops and glancing down I see
an Eastern princess gazing up, a hand
that steers an ice-cream cone aside, a face
that someone copied from a scroll (late Tang
perhaps) and then a proffered tissue. There’s
a wiping for a while. The mother smiles,
apologizes quietly, takes her place
behind me in the queue again. The child
shrinks  in beside her elder brother and
the millipede we form creeps down the stairs.

Downstairs

Millenia dissolve. Four eyes look through
the history they share. A bowman kneels,
the boy reflects his stillness and the two
related strangers meet for moments. Waiting
now I look for recognitions — things that bring
the man who cast the archer and the tall
and Levied school-boy closer here. A slow
half-woken memory perhaps — a stirring thing?
He turns towards the lady from the painting
“Tough eh, Mum? But someone’s nicked his bow”.
So much for racial memory. Now the queue
convulses, turns and crawls across the hall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s