China Xi'an attractions, Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses introduced.

About Us | Contact Us
Tel: 86-773-2851898

Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

The Terra-Cotta Army are the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China. The Terra-Cotta figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by several local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausouleum of the First Qin Emperor. The figures vary in height (183–195cm - 6ft–6ft 5in), according to their role, the tallest being the Generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.

The Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses were discovered by Chinese peasants while digging a well. This discovery prompted archaeologists to proceed to Shaanxi, China to investigate. The Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses is a form of funerary art buried with the Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang) in 209-210 BC (his reign over Qin was from 247 BC to 221 BC and unified China from 221 BC to the end of his life in 210 BC). Their purpose was to help rule another empire with Shi Huang Di in the afterlife. Consequently, they are also sometimes referred to as "Qin's Armies."

The Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses were discovered in March 1974 by local farmers and Chinese peasants, drilling a water well to the east of Lishan (Mount Li). Mount Li is also where the material to make the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses originated. In addition to the warriors, an entire man-made necropolis for the emperor has been excavated.

According to the historian Sima Qian (145 BC-90 BC) construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and involved 700,000 workers. Sima Qian, writing a century after its completion, wrote that the First Emperor was buried with palaces, scenic towers, officials, valuable utensils and 'wonderful objects,' with 100 rivers fashioned in mercury and above this heavenly bodies below which he wrote were 'the features of the earth.' Some translations of this passage refer to 'models' or 'imitations' but in fact he does not use those words. Recent scientific work at the site has shown high levels of mercury in the soil of Mount Lishan, appearing to add credence to the writing of ancient historian Sima Qian. The tomb of Shi Huang Di is near an earthen pyramid 76 meters tall and nearly 350 square meters. The tomb remains unopened, in the hope that it will remain intact. Only a portion of the site is presently excavated.

Qin Shi Huangdi’s necropolis complex was constructed to serve as an imperial compound or palace. It comprises several offices, halls and other structures and is surrounded by a wall with gateway entrances. The remains of the craftsmen working in the tomb have also been found within its confines, and it is believed they were sealed inside alive to prevent them from divulging information about the tombs.

In 2007 Chinese archaeologists, using remote sensing technology, located a 30 meter high building buried above the main portion of the tomb. It appears to have four large stair-like walls. Although one of the archaeologists, Duan Qingbo, suggests that it may have been built to aid the departure of the Emperor's soul, another expert, Chen Jingyuan, questioned the nature of the discovery. He suggested that speculating as to the findings' purpose might cause complications for future archaeologists. 

It was also said as a legend that the Terra-Cotta Warriors were real soldiers, buried with Emperor Qin so that they can guard him in the next life.

The Terra-Cotta figures were manufactured both in workshops by government laborers and also by local craftsmen. The head, arms, legs and torsos were created separately and then assembled. Studies show that eight face moulds were most likely used, and then clay was added to provide individual facial features. Once assembled, intricate features such as facial expressions were added. It is believed that their legs were made in much the same way that Terra-Cotta drainage pipes were manufactured at the time. This would make it an assembly line production, with specific parts manufactured and assembled after being fired, as opposed to crafting one solid piece of Terra-Cotta and subsequently firing it. In those days, each workshop was required to inscribe its name on items produced to ensure quality control. This has aided modern historians in verifying that workshops that once made tiles and other mundane items were commandeered to work on the Terra-Cotta army. Upon completion, the Terra-Cotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty.

The Terra-Cotta figures are life-like and life-sized. They vary in height, uniform and hairstyle in accordance with rank. The colored lacquer finish, individual facial features, and replica weapons and armor used in manufacturing these figures created a realistic appearance. The original weapons were stolen shortly after the creation of the army and the coloring has faded greatly. However, their existence serves as a testament to the amount of labour and skill involved in their construction. It is also reveals the power the First Emperor possessed, enabling him to command such a monumental undertaking.

The Pits
The four pits associated with the dirt are about 1.5km east of the burial ground and are about 7 meters deep.The outside walls of the tomb complex are as if placed there to destroy the tomb from the east, where all the conquered states lay. They are solidly built with rammed earth walls and ground layers as hard as concrete. Pit 1, 230 meters long, contains the main army, estimated at 6000 figures. Pit One has 11 corridors, most of which are over 3 meters wide, and paved with small bricks with a wooden ceiling supported by large beams and posts. This design was also used for the tombs of noblemen and would have resembled palace hallways. The wooden ceilings were covered with reed mats and layers of clay for waterproofing and then mounded with more soil making them when built about 2 to 3 meters higher than the ground level. Pit 2 has cavalry and infantry units as well as war chariots, and is thought to represent a military guard. Pit 3 is the command post, with high ranking officers and a war chariot. Pit 4 is empty, seemingly left unfinished by its builders.