Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most momentous archeological
unearthing of the 20th century. The site is around 1.5 km east of Emperor
Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum. It is a sight not to be missed in any itinerary
of a visitor to China.
This 2,200 year-old marvel was funeral site of king Qinshihuang- the first
emperor of China. It is located in suburb of Xi'an City and was retrieved
when local farmers were digging a well nearby. The site has 3 exhibition
chambers housing the continuing excavation of army of 6,000 terra-cotta
soldiers and horses that guard the tomb of Qinshihuang.
The Terra Cotta life-size warriors are becoming a major tourist attraction
for visitors coming from around the corner. Indeed, since its excavation in
1974, millions of foreign visitors have toured the Terra-cotta Warriors
Museum in Xian and marveled at the underground wonders.
The Royal Burial of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi
The ancient burial-site of the first Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuangdi was
located in the Xian City. The human seize terra cotta warriors were placed
all around the burial tomb of Emperor Qin. Before Qin Shihuangdis
regime, the rulers were buried along with women, slaves, and soldiers. This
custom prevailing during China's feudal period vanished at the time of Qin.
The emperor ordered for a gigantic clay army to be actualized for his
protection after his death, hence the actual humans were substituted for the
terra cotta sculptures. He wanted to enjoy the same kind of life what he had
led on earth even after his death.
The museum is extended over an area of 14,000 sq. m and houses about 6,000
life-size terra-cotta warriors and horses. The poignant vision of the
marionette rowed in a perfect formation spellbound its visitors with
splendor and sublimity.
The height of the normal soldiers ranges from 5 ft. 8 in. to 6 ft. 2.5 in.
Those that rode the chariots were 6 ft. 2.5 in. The commanders stood at the
raised platform, representing the significance of the officer.
Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle
formations are the dominating characteristic of the museum. They are
duplicates of what the royal guard should look like in those days of
pageantry and power.
Special Features of the Terra Cotta Models
The area extends up to 689 feet long, 197 feet wide and the trenches that
contain the soldiers are 14.8 to 21.3 feet deep. The bodies of the soldiers
were formed out of terra cotta clay. Each soldier was baked in a furnace.
The soldiers are positioned in such a way as if ready for a battlefield.
Another attraction is the costumes of the warriors and the spears and other
weapons carried by them. Each warrior is wearing an army uniform, which
distinguishes the soldier's rank, the uniforms were either painted green of
red to mark the distinction.
Each soldier is marked with different facial expressions. Even the horses
found at this site have different poses.
Altogether over 6,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons
have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to
their former grandeur. The site was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the
worlds cultural heritage.
These Terra Cotta warriors will continue to give insight into the history
of both Chinese art and war tactics. They represent a magnificent art and
imperial life patterns of the rulers during the Qin Dynasty.