We describe a large-angle survey for fast, optical transients: gamma ray bursts (GRBs), supernovae (SNe), lensed and transiting planets, AGNs and serendipitously found objects. The principal science goals are to obtain light curves for all transients and to obtain redshifts of GRBs and orphan afterglows. The array is called Xian. In conjunction with the gamma-ray satellites, ECLAIRs/SVOM and GLAST, the data will be used to study sources from z=0.1 to >6. The telescope array has 400 Schmidt telescopes, each with ~20 sq. degree focal planes and apertures of ~0.5 meters. The passively cooled, multiple CCD arrays have a total of 16000x16000 pixels, up to 13 readout channels per 1K x 4K CCD and work in TDI mode. The system provides continuous coverage of the circumpolar sky, from the Antarctic plateau, every few seconds. Images averaged over longer time intervals allow searches for the host galaxies of the detected transients, as well as for fainter, longer timescale transients. Complete, data at high time resolution are only stored for selected objects. The telescopes are fixed and use a single filter: there are few (or no) moving parts. Expected detection rates are 0.3 GRBs afterglows per day, >100 orphan afterglows per day and >0.1 blue flashes per day from Type II or Type Ib/c supernovae. On-site computers compare successive images and trigger follow-up observations of selected objects with a co-sited, well-instrumented telescope (optical, IR; spectroscopy, photometry, polarimetry), for rapid follow-up of transients. Precursor arrays with 20-100 square degrees are planned for the purpose of developing trigger software, testing observing strategies and deriving good cost estimates for a full set of telescope units.