A collection of sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.

The tallest figures being the generals. The sculptures include warriors, chariots and horses. The three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits near Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.

An entire army of life-size terra cotta soldiers and horses, interred for more than 2,000 years

The Terracotta Army was discovered on March 1974 by farmers digging a water well 1.5 kilometres east of the Qin Emperor’s tomb mound at Mount Li, a region riddled with underground springs and watercourses. The tomb is a hermetically sealed space roughly the size of a football pitch, possibly due to concerns over preservation of its artifacts.

The terracotta army figures were manufactured in workshops by government laborers and local craftsmen using local materials. The faces were created using molds, heads, arms, legs, and torsos were created separately and then assembled by luting the pieces together. When completed, the terracotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty.

Most of the figures originally held real weapons, which would have increased their realism. Despite this, over 40,000 bronze items of weaponry have been recovered, including swords, daggers, spears, lances, battle-axes, scimitars, shields, crossbows, and crossbow triggers. Some carry inscriptions that date their manufacture to between 245 and 228 BCE, indicating that they were used before burial.


Featured Image: Terracotta Army / Image: by theblondeabroad.com

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