by Marcus DiPaola
INDIANAPOLIS, United States, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Silk Road is back, but instead of carrying tea and spices, it carries cultural goodwill.
Eight Terra Cotta Warriors and 118 other artifacts have arrived at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, along with Take Me There: China, an exhibition loosely based on the port city of Quanzhou situated on the southeastern coast of Fujian Province. The museum said, between 6,000 and 7,000 people visited the exhibit on its opening day Saturday.
Quanzhou, once an important harbor and the starting point on the Maritime Silk Road, today bears a message of friendship from the Chinese people to the visitors of the museum.
John Wang is a resident of that city. His family was chosen by researchers to represent a typical Chinese family to the American public. "In 2009, my friend Bruce told me the idea of Take Me There: China." he said. "We began to do some research on how to identify the authentic Chinese family."
"We had family auditions for about four years, and visited the south of China six times. At last, he said, John, your family, I think it is a typical Chinese family. So they chose my younger brother's family."
Wang sees the importance of exchanges between cultures as his ancestors traveled from the inner part of China to the southeast of China. Wang said they embraced different cultures.
"Chinese culture has embraced different cultures since the 10th centuries, so we have a tradition to open to the world." he said. "We trade with the people of different cultures, different religions, so maybe that's why Indianapolis Children's Museum chose Quanzhou and chose our family."
Since their discovery in 1974, the Terra Cotta Warriors have rarely been allowed to leave China, and they have been listed as a world cultural heritage site by the United Nations and have become a must-see historical site for visitors to China.
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai also visited the exhibit and emphasized the importance of cultural exchange in his speech. "At the country to country level, China and the United States are now working together to build a new model of relationship between our two great countries," he said.
"I always believe the real foundation of this relationship between our two great countries lies in understanding and friendship between two peoples and nothing could better help us reach that goal than cultural exchanges."
"I'm very happy to see that for these people in this state, you don't have to go far to review the emperor's painted army, you can do it right here," said Cui.
The exhibit, which will run in the Children's Museum of Indianapolis from May 10 to Nov. 2, also features an interactive program in which children can create miniature Terra Cotta Warriors and sculpt their own life-size Terra faces in clay.