BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Replicas of the iconic terracotta warriors in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, have been used as pen containers, ashtrays or even dolls. This time around, the figurines are not made of clay but something else: chocolate.
A piece of a terracotta warrior-shaped chocolate has gone viral online after a user on microblog Sina Weibo uploaded a picture of a kneeling, dark-colored "chocolate knight" Wednesday night.
"Believe it or not, this is a piece of chocolate in Xi'an," said Weibo user Weikeduociwei.
The face of the "warrior" appeared to have been bitten, as its face was dented. Beside the chocolate chunk was a paper box with a brief introduction of Xi'an.
The post melted the hearts of many. As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, it has drawn more than 7,000 comments and been liked almost 19,000.
"Maybe one should kneel before eating the chocolate," read a comment on Weibo.
"Believe it or not, as a local in Xi'an, I have never seen anything quite like this!" another comment read.
Some netizens even posted pictures of other terracotta warrior-shaped items in Xi'an, including a hotpot with sediment in the shape of the warriors.
Discovered in 1974, the army is one of China's biggest tourist attractions, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It was built by Emperor Qinshihuang of the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-207 B.C.), who unified China for the first time.
In recent years, many smart business people have cashed in on the images of the warriors.
Earlier this month, a hotel in Xi'an caused a stir by offering life-sized terracotta sculptures in its rooms. The hotel owner, Guo Zhihua, placed more than 200 warrior replicas in the three hotel rooms. The sculptures, appearing to be watching attentively, are under the beds, the wash basins, in front of toilet seats and in the walls. Tiles and pillowcases are also painted with images of the stern-faced soldiers.
"As the bed light shines through a specially-coated cover, the images of the warrior formations multiply so that the guests can feel like an emperor reviewing his troops," Guo said.
Guo's rooms, costing 100 to 200 dollars a night, have drawn thousands of visitors from 30 countries and regions since the hotel opened in 2008 when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics. "I was banking on growing interest in Chinese history," Guo said.
Xi'an is a popular tourist site. During the three-day New Year holiday, the city received 2.453 million tourists, up 17.16 percent year on year. Tourists spent 983 million yuan (145 million U.S. dollars), up 24.24 percent.