Terracotta Army

The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife; the figures, dating from the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi'an, China. The figures vary in height with the tallest being the generals; the figures include warriors and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits near Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats and musicians; the construction of the tomb was described by historian Sima Qian in Records of the Grand Historian, the first of China's 24 dynastic histories, written a century after the mausoleum's completion.

Work on the mausoleum began in 246 BCE soon after Emperor Qin ascended the throne, the project involved 700,000 workers. Geographer Li Daoyuan, writing six centuries after the first emperor's death, recorded in Shui Jing Zhu that Mount Li was a favoured location due to its auspicious geology, "famed for its jade mines, its northern side was rich in gold, its southern side rich in beautiful jade. Sima Qian wrote that the first emperor was buried with palaces, officials, valuable artifacts and wondrous objects. According to this account, 100 flowing rivers were simulated using mercury, above them the ceiling was decorated with heavenly bodies below which were the features of the land; some translations of this passage refer to "models" or "imitations". High levels of mercury were found in the soil of the tomb mound, giving credence to Sima Qian's account. Historical accounts suggested that the complex and tomb itself had been looted by Xiang Yu, a contender for the throne after the death of the first emperor.

However, there are indications. The Terracotta Army was discovered on 29 March 1974 by farmers digging a water well 1.5 kilometres east of the Qin Emperor's tomb mound at Mount Li, a region riddled with underground springs and watercourses. For centuries, occasional reports mentioned pieces of terracotta figures and fragments of the Qin necropolis – roofing tiles and chunks of masonry; this discovery prompted Chinese archaeologists, including Zhao Kangmin, to investigate, revealing the largest pottery figurine group found. A museum complex has since been constructed over the area, the largest pit being enclosed by a roofed structure; the Terracotta Army is part of a much larger necropolis. Ground-penetrating radar and core sampling have measured the area to be 98 square kilometers; the necropolis was constructed as a microcosm of the emperor's imperial palace or compound, covers a large area around the tomb mound of the first emperor. The earthen tomb mound is located at the foot of Mount Li and built in a pyramidal shape, is surrounded by two solidly built rammed earth walls with gateway entrances.

The necropolis consists of several offices, stables, other structures as well as an imperial park placed around the tomb mound. The warriors stand guard to the east of the tomb. Up to 5 metres of reddish, sandy soil had accumulated over the site in the two millennia following its construction, but archaeologists found evidence of earlier disturbances at the site. During the excavations near the Mount Li burial mound, archaeologists found several graves dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, where diggers had struck terracotta fragments; these were used along with soil to backfill the excavations. The tomb appears to be a hermetically sealed space the size of a football pitch; the tomb remains unopened due to concerns over preservation of its artifacts. For example, after the excavation of the Terracotta Army, the painted surface present on some terracotta figures began to flake and fade; the lacquer covering the paint can curl in fifteen seconds once exposed to Xi'an's dry air and can flake off in just four minutes.

Four main pits 7 metres deep have been excavated. These are located 1.5 kilometres east of the burial mound. The soldiers within were laid out as if to protect the tomb from the east, where the Qin Emperor's conquered states lay. Pit 1, 230 metres long and 62 metres wide, contains the main army of more than 6,000 figures. Pit 1 has eleven corridors, most more than 3 metres wide and paved with small bricks with a wooden ceiling supported by large beams and posts; this design was used for the tombs of nobles and would have resembled palace hallways when built. The wooden ceilings were covered with reed mats and layers of clay for waterproofing, mounded with more soil raising them about 2 to 3 metres above the surrounding ground level when completed. Pit 2 has cavalry and infantry units as well as war chariots and is thought to represent a military guard. Pit 3 is the command post, with a war chariot. Pit 4 is empty left unfinished by its builders; some of the figures in Pits 1 and 2 show fire damage, while remains of burnt ceiling rafters have also

Purnendu Dastidar

Purnendu Dastidar was a Bengali politician and lawyer. A key leader of the Communist Party of East Pakistan, Dastidar was jailed for over two decades. Dastidar was born in Chittagong District, he was the son of an officer of the Chittagong Law Court. He passed his Exam from Chittagong College in 1927, he went on to study at the Jadavpur Technology College. He was a member of the Chittagong Jugantar Party, took part in guerrilla actions against British targets together with Surya Sen, Kalpana Dutta and Pritilata Waddedar. In 1931, during his student years in Calcutta, he was imprisoned; the British authorities charged him with being an associate of guerrilla leader Surya Sen. He was able to complete his B. A. and B. L. degrees whilst in jail. He was released from jail in 1938, but remained interned in his home village until 1941. From 1941 onwards he began practising Law. In Chittagong Dastidar founded the'Babies Hospital', offering health care to poor children. During the years of war and famine 1942–1945, he organised relief efforts in Chittagong.

He was the organiser of relief efforts in 1947 following the sinking of S. S. Mallard near Cox's Bazar. Dastidar became a member of the Communist Party of Pakistan in 1948, he was arrested again, jailed for seven years. In 1954, whilst in jail, he was elected to the East Pakistan Legislative Assembly from a minority reserved seat in Chittagong, he defeated Binod Bihari Dutta of the Congress party. Dastidar was released in 1956. In the Legislative Assembly he tabled a resolution calling for the construction of a memorial tower in honour of the Chittagong rebellion of 18 April 1930, passed by the assembly. Dastidar organised student and peasants groups in Chittagong. In 1957 Dastidar became a member of the National Awami Party. Following the declaration of Martial Law in 1958, Dastidar was once again jailed, he was released in 1962. Upon his release from jail he became the president of the Chittagong City branch of NAP. Along with other communist leaders, Dastidar was jailed at the time of the September 1965 Indo-Pakistan war.

He was released in 1969, in connection with the ongoing mass protests which forced Ayub Khan to release all political prisoners. After being released he was active in the NAP of Wali Khan, he contested the Chittagong-11 in the provincial assembly elections of 1970, but lost to an Awami League candidate. As the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in 1971 Dastidar left for India to join the struggle, but died of exhaustion en route

Savanna hawk

The savanna hawk is a large raptor found in open savanna and swamp edges. It was placed in the genus Heterospizias, it breeds from Panama and Trinidad south to Bolivia and central Argentina. The savanna hawk weighs 845 g; the adult has a rufous body with grey mottling fine black barring below. The flight feathers of the long broad wings are black, the tail is banded black and white; the legs are yellow. The call is a loud scream keeeeru. Immature birds are similar to the adults but have darker, duller upperparts, paler underparts with coarser barring, a whitish supercilium; this species perches vertically, its legs are strikingly long. The savanna hawk feeds on small mammals, snakes and large insects, it sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey, but will hunt on foot, several birds may gather at grass fires. The nest is of sticks built in a palm tree; the clutch is a single white egg, the young take 6.5 to 7.5 weeks to fledging. Ffrench, Richard. A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago.

Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2. F. Gary Stiles. A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4. Savanna hawk videos on the Internet Bird Collection Savanna hawk photo gallery VIREO