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Terracotta Warriors Museum


The Terracotta Warriors is one of the most fabulous archaeological reserves in the world. The Terracotta Warriors was discovered in eastern outer suburbs of Xi'an, Shaanxi Province by local farmers drilling a water well 1.5 miles east of Lishan (a mountain).This discovery prompted archaeologists to proceed to Shaanxi Province, China to investigate. The Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the First Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang, Shi Huang means the first emperor) in 210-209 BC (he declared himself the first emperor of China in 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." Mount Lishan is also where the material to make the terracotta warriors 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. Qin Shi Huang was thirteen when construction began. Sima Qian, in his most famous history of China, Shiji, completed a century after the mausoleum 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 Huang'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.

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

The four pits associated with the dig 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 protect 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.This profound discovery made a sensation across the whole world! In 1975, the State Council offered permission that a museum with an area of 16,300 square metres be built on the site of Pit No. 1 at the aim of protecting the valuable historical relics. The museum was officially finished and opened to the public on October 01, National Day, 1979. The exhibition hall of Pit No. 3 was finished and opned to the public on September 27, 1989. 5 years later, the exhibition hall of Pit No. 2 was open to the public in October, 1994. The museum and the mausoleum are listed the world's cultural legacies as the UNESCO.

Pit No. 1 is in an oblong shape of tunnel. It is 230 metres long from east to west and 62 metres wide from north to south. It is 5 metres deep. It occupies an area of 14,260 square metres. Inside the tunnel, there are ten earth-rammed partition walls. The floors are bricks-paved. The terra-cotta warriors and horses in Pit No. 1 are lined in a real battle formation. To the east end of the pit stand facing east three rows of terra-cotta warriors in battle tunics and puttees, 70 in each row with total number of 210 put altogether. Armed with bows and arrows, they form the vanguard. The ten rammed partition walls cut Pit No. 1 into eleven latitudinal passage ways. There are 38 columns of warriors in the east with horse-drawn chariots in the centre. The armour-clad warriors carrying long-shaft weapons are probably the main body of the formation and show the main force.

Pit No. 2 is situated 20 metres to the north of Pit No. 1. The Pit is L--shaped and composed of four different mixed military forces in four rows. It is recorded that there were more than 1, 000 pieces of pottery figures, 500 horse-driven chariots and saddled horses. The pit is about 6,000 square metres.

Pit No. 3 is situated 25 metres to the north of Pit No. 1 and to the west of Pit No. 2. Tthe pit is in the concave shape with 520 square metres. From the pit were discovered one chariot, four terra-cotta horses and 68 clay armoured warriors. In Pit No. 3 were only unearthed one kind of weapon called "shu", which had no blades and are siad to be used by the guards of honour. Discovered also in this pit were a re- maining deer-horn and animal bones. This is maybe the site where sacrificial offerings and war prayers were practiced.

Pit No.4 is empty, seemingly left unfinished by its builders.


Edited By Athena Lee

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Xian Terracotta Warriors

Xian tour, Terracotta Warriors Replicas Workshop
Terracotta Warriors Replicas Workshop
Xian tour, Terracotta Warriors Replicas Workshop
Terracotta Warriors Replicas Workshop