Sport or Art: The Big 3 as Terracotta Warriors, Sculpture by Laury Dizengremel

What’s the most impressive thing about the Egyptian Pyramids, the Terracotta Warriors? More widely known today than in their infancy, they have endured over 4 millennia. The pyramids and the contents within—the pharoah’s chair, his portrait hewed out of hardest stone, are built to last not only as monuments to the dead but as memorial places where the “ka,” the dead Pharoah’s life force, might dwell for eternity. If the first emperor of China, Emperor Chin, were to endure in the afterlife, he would need a magnificent army of Terracotta Warriors to protect him. A cruel, cruel emperor of achievements and massacres, he knew the world’s warriors might seek revenge after death. So 700,000 workers conscripted to mold 8,000 warriors out of clay. Poetic justice that these warriors outplay their emperor, outlive him, in the collective mind of today’s fleeting world of fame and memory.

In a mere four centuries hence, how many will give a single thought to the big 3: Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic? Unlike the Terracotta Warriors, they will be buried under the passing legacies of athlete after athlete after athlete after athlete after athlete after athlete till the weight of so much time grinds all their transcendent athleticism into the accumulated dust of centuries. If we humans still inhabit the earth, the Terracotta Warriors will be instantly recognizable. But Roger or Rafa? More people may know Rafaga—meaning a sudden burst or flurry of wind–a little composition for solo guitar I once played a half century ago.

Artist Bio: For more on the fascinating story behind the creation of the Tennis Terracotta Warriors by the famous sculptor, Laury Dizengremel, click here. For her bio and info on many of her works, you can visit her website.

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