In a move meant to boost its chances of creating nonstop flights between Atlanta and Beijing and Shanghai, China, Delta Air Lines Inc. has announced it will sponsor the Chinese terracotta warrior exhibit at the High Museum of Art. The exhibit will take place from Nov. 2008-April 2009.

“It’s perfect timing for this exhibit to be in Atlanta, as Delta is seeking to connect Atlanta and the U.S. Southeast with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in 2008,” said Andy McDill, a Delta spokesperson.

According to Susan Clark, director of marketing and communications at the museum, the exhibit represents one of the largest loans of the world-famous warriors ever to be released from Xi’an, China. The warriors will also appear at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif., and the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Houston during their U.S. tour.

Michael Shapiro, the museum’s director, first saw the warriors during a trip to China several years ago and has been working with Chinese officials to bring them to Atlanta ever since, Ms. Clark said.

Members of Atlanta’s Chinese-American community expressed delight at the news of the upcoming exhibit. “I’m glad to see the cultural exchange that’s being enhanced through this exhibit,” said Guanming Fang, an attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC. “It tells me that Atlanta as a whole is becoming more aware of Chinese culture, and the arts community is enhancing that relationship.”

Farmers first discovered the terracotta warriors in 1974 while digging a well in a village outside Xi’an. Since then, almost 1,000 life-sized figures have been excavated, and it is estimated that 6,000 more may eventually be unearthed.

The warriors were meant to guard the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, who reigned from 221-210 B.C. and integrated China into a unified state. The warriors are on loan from various collections around the Shaanxi Province, including the Museum of the First Emperor’s Terracotta Army and Horses.

“I have seen these warriors in China, and I would encourage Atlantans to look at them carefully when they are here in order to fully appreciate them,” Ms. Fang says. “There are differences between them in terms of their garments, their facial expressions and their postures. From these warriors, people can get a good understanding of what Chinese people looked like back then. These soldiers carry a lot of history with them.”

Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
High Museum of Art – Cassandra Champion Streich (404) 733-4436
senior manager of public relations