The Terracotta Army (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: b ngm y ng; literally "soldier and horse funerary statues") is the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China. The terracotta figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (Chinese: ; pinyin: Q n Sh hu ng Ling). The figures vary in height (183 195 cm - 6 ft 6 ft 5in), according to their roles, with 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 Terracotta Army 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. Many archeologists believe that there are many pits still waiting to be discovered.
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum in Lintong, Xian, Shaanxi Province. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).
Every figure differs from those around in facial features and expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures. The horsemen, the longbow bearers, the archers and the senior officers and generals were positioned in strict accordance with the ancient directives on the Art of War. Many of the figures originally held real weapons of the time, such as bronze swords, longbows, arrows, spears, dagger-axes and other long-shafted weapons. Surface treatment of the weapons made them resistant to rust and corrosion so that after being buried for over 2000 years they were still sharp.
To bury an entire army of individual soldiers under the ground was unheard of in the world. This ancient phenomenon gave evidence to the world of the Chinese people's sophistication and rich cultural heritage. It is no wonder that the former French Premier expressed amazement when he saw it, 'The Qin terracotta pit is one of the marvels of the world. To go to Egypt and not see the pyramids is not really going to Egypt; to go to China and not see this sight is not really going to China.'
The terracotta army 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 terracotta 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 terracotta 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 terracotta army. Upon completion, the terracotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty.
The terracotta 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 actual weapons and armor from battle used in manufacturing these figures created a realistic appearance. The original weapons were stolen by robbers shortly after the creation of the army and the coloring has faded greatly. However, their existence serves as a testament to the amount of labor and skill involved in their construction. It also reveals the power the First Emperor possessed, enabling him to command such a monumental undertaking.
What is most amazing is that these weapons were still sharp and shiny after being excavated. Having been buried over 2,000 years, they had not rusted, except for those that had been crushed and damaged. After rubbing away the mud and dirt one could see that they were shiny, making one think they had just come from a Qin-dynasty craftsman's hands. The production of these weapons was very careful, including cold-casting treatment added to the surface. The weapons were of an alloy made of copper, tin, and lead but the percentages were different for different categories of weapons and there were microquantities of different elements to allow for different hardnesses and elasticity needs. Qin-dynasty craftsmen were in possession of very high metallurgical technology. The blades of the weapons had an oxidized layer and after scientific evaluation it was seen that they were put through a salt oxidizing process. This treatment of the surface is a modern technology that was already in use in Chinese weapons production some 2,000 years ago. This thin layer of protection is what kept the weapons from rusting despite being buried for so long.
On October 10 2009, the 35th anniversary of the discovery of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the logo of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Army Museum was announced to the public. The logo geometrically abstracts the terracotta warriors and horses, in which every warrior is generalized into a round dot, and the collective dots resemble the combat formation. Above the dots, a long curve stands for the vast vault and rolling Lishan Mountain. The overall design is exactly like the sealing earth of the Mausoleum and also implies that the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Terracotta Army Museum is a part of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Museum.
In the meantime, the logo of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Museum was published. The design perfectly blends the appearance of the sealing earth of the Mausoleum with Chinese character "Qin" written in mini-seal script. The middle pattern is drawn from the decoration of the eaves tile in Qin Dynasty, and also highlights the strength of Qin military. The logo is a sign of the military culture in Qin Dynasty.
Peak Season (from 1 March to late Nov.): 90 Yuan; off-season (the rest of the year): 65 Yuan.
7:30am-17:30pm (from 16 March to 14 Nov.); 8:00am-17:00pm (from 15 Nov. to 15 March)
How to get there:
From Xian Xianyang International Airport:
Visitors can take Airport Shuttle Line 2 to Xian Railway Station. The bus departs every hour from 09:15 to 17:15 at 1F of T2 and the ticket costs CNY 25. From Xian Railway Station, take tourism bus no.5 (306), bus no.914, 915 and get off at the final station.
Visitors can also hire a taxi to the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses from Xian Xianyang International Airport. Remember to take the legitimate green colored taxies and the fee is about CNY 200. Please make it clear to the taxi driver that you only go to the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses and refuse to go to other scenic sites including souvenir shops.
From Xian Railway Station:
Take tourism bus no.5 (306), bus no.914, 915 and get off at the final station. The whole journey takes about one hour.
From Lintong District:
Take bus no.914, 915 or Speical Line 101 and get off at Terracotta Warrior Museum. The whole journey takes about 15 minutes.
Take NO. 306 bus ( 5.5Yuan per person, through expressway) and NO. 307 bus ( 5Yuan per person ), the buses run from 7:00 to 18:00 at 10 mins interval.
There is Security check at gate and armed guards in position; children under 1.2 m are free of charge.
Ideal route: Exhibition Hall of Qinling Bronze Carriage the three vaults of terracotta figures round-curtain movie. The bronze horses worth of visiting and should not be bypassed just to save money or time.