About ourselves, and how we made our visit to ancient China


Wedding anniversary in Taiyuan
While we were on the tour, my wife and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary, in Taiyuan. We had lunch in a rather grand converted cinema, and here we found this archway, left over from some wedding ceremony. We felt it was an appropriate place for a photo!


We went to China from 28th May to 11th June 2014. We spent 18 days on a tour of Ancient China, organised by an Australian company, Wendy Wu. It was a busy trip starting in Beijing, then going west to Datong to see the Yungang grottoes, then south to Wutaishan and Taiyuan, and then to the fascinating historic town of Pingyao.

We then spent a night in the train before arriving at Xian, the capital of Han and Tang China, and the home of the terracotta warriors.

Then east by bullet train to Luoyang to see the Longshan Buddhas, then to Zhengzhou, from whence we flew to Shanghai for our final three days. All in all, a very busy trip!


My name is Andrew Selkirk, and I am an archaeologist, having spent my life editing the magazines Current Archaeology and Current World Archaeology. In my retirement – or semi-retirement – I am busy writing a history of the world, called Barbarism and Civilisation. Last year we went to India – click here to see my report – so this year we thought we should go to China. This is my report


Ruby, Wendy Wu tour guide
Ruby, our wonderful tour guide

In this final section, I am collecting together some of the informal photos I took on the trip – of myself and my wife Wendy, our companions on the trip, and are excellent tour guide Ruby.

Pingyao street scene
Ruby guiding me through a street in the ancient town of Pingyao

It was a wonderful experience which has had great influence on my thinking about world history I shall be rewriting the story of China on my civilisation pages.











Iron man  Jinci temple 1100

My wife and I seeking the protection of the Iron Man at the Jinci Temple in Taiyuan. The Iron Man is one of the finest surviving sculptures of the Song dynasty (AD 960 – 1279)

















w with terracota warrior 956Here is my wife greeting one of the Terracotta Warriors in early factory/show showrooms where they were producing models of the Terracotta Warriors.

















Self with dragon Shaolin 125And here am I, befriending a dragon in the Shaolin Temple















Paper cutting general 2075We visited a paper cutting showroom in Luoyang and here the group is learning how to cut paper.


Paper cutting enquiring 2070Paper cutting success 2076My wife was a keen learner and eventually, she  triumphed.











Dinner in Beijing 0569The group, dining at a Beijing restaurant. Rather than dining in our hotel, we were often taken out to a  restaurant, so we could get a better idea of the real China.





Dancing girls 932In Xian we visited the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show a magnificent display that sets   out to reconstruct some of the musical  ‘operas’ that were  performed in the  Tang era


Emperor and Empress 948The spectacle ended  with a display featuring the  Emperor and Empress of China




During the course of our visit I was able to photograph a number of ordinary Chinese and inevitably there were a number of pretty girls who strayed into my focus.




Art is money
Art is Money, and No Money is Art

I was fascinated by this subversive message:  Art is money and no money is Art. Somehow she seems to typify the modern Chinese who are both fascinated by modern Western commercialism  but at the same time take a decidedly subversive slant on the whole phenomenon.


















New York Doll hutong 0693This young lady was strolling through the hutongs in Beijing, proclaiming herself  to be a “New York Doll”.

















Two girls  1300And here are two young ladies who posed  for me informally,




















Xian lovers 903And a young couple who are clearly deeply in love.





















Tandem 879 And a young couple who had hired a tandem to cycle round the walls of Xian












Hutong chef 6318When we went round the hutong, the artisans  quarter of the imperial place at  Beijing, we went  to dine in one of the traditional  hutong eating places. Here is the chef who provided us with a splendid lunch at his home in the hutong at Beijing, proudly displaying the certificate as to his cooking abilities.

He told  us that he still lived in the same house that his father and grandfather had lived in, close to  the back gate to the Imperial Palace, where  his  father had  been an imperial chef.









Summer Palace Unknown Hall 0640And finally this Hall in the Summer Palace at Beijing is immensely improved by this young lady with very long legs and very short shorts


I enjoyed my visit to China!


If you wish to learn more, or if you have any comments or corrections, or indeed if you are intending to go on a Wendy Wu tour of ancient China, do e-mail me at Andrew@archaeology.co.uk, or ring me on (0044) (020) 744 356 9732, or 020 89404678




17th January 2015