Wander into the old section and the now empty armour gallery and eventually you get to the East Asian exhibit which is now on the main floor-- just to underline the museum's changing priorities and the source of most of its money. There are a lot more figures and pottery than before, including a large size statue of Guan Yu, but I miss the recreations of Qing rooms and the Qing robes and snuff bottles and all. The warriors exhibit itself was well done and instructive, and the space didn't in fact impinge too badly on the senses-- but then it's a sub-basement. Says something that the largest exhibition space in the museum is below ground. The figures themselves are remarkable. Possibly too remarkable. There's a back slide show of what they looked like when first discovered, and how they look semi-pieced together; and here they are all seamless and whole, making you wonder if they aren't after all replicas.
More interesting to me was the terracotta warriors from the fifth Han Dynasty emperor's tomb. Much smaller, but originally dressed in silk with wooden arms. The silk and wood both rotted away, leaving the nude torsos. What fascinated me, in view of nojojojo's recent post, is that there were female soldiers in amongst the ranks. A placard said that the women are thought to be recruits from northern tribes, but I can't remember the exact wording and can't find anything online that echoes the idea.