Behind-the-scenes with Chi Chang

Cathy Cai, a Chinese native and current journalist, worked with Chi Chang during his recent trip to DC. Following him around as he went to the Nationals ball game, the Kennedy Center, and the National Zoo, Cai was shocked by the impression he made on locals and visitors alike. Cai noted that “He really understands the spirit of the terra cotta warriors and he looks like a warrior. When he would move slowly people would be scared. He has great charisma and acts the way warriors would. When he is standing there he looks like a statue and even his walk is really slow and looks like he is from ancient times.”

Chi Chang speaks only his native Mandarin so Cai was needed to assist him around the city and to communicate on behalf of National Geographic Museum staff. However, when in his full terra cotta warrior costume, Chi Chang does not speak so as to stay in character. In these situations, he would only respond to Cai with nods confirming or denying his intentions.

The man behind Chi Chang is known as Jarry. He is a performance artist from Taiwan who actually makes his own costumes. Every time he makes a public appearance, Chang spends 30 minutes or more applying full makeup, wardrobe, and getting into character. While Cai was not able to see him apply the makeup, she was able to see the dynamic transformation from Jarry to Chi Chang. She noted that it was almost impossible to recognize Jarry when he was in costume as everything about him changed.

For more on Jarry and to meet his translator, Cathy Cai, stay tuned for the upcoming Fall schedule.

Cathy Cai and Chi Chang

Cathy Cai and Chi Chang

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