The Terracotta Army, also known as the Terracotta Warriors and Horses, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province, near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.
History of the Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 by farmers digging a well in Lintong County, Shaanxi Province. It was first identified by local government officials as a kind of archaeological feature. In 1976, an archaeological excavation team led by Chinese archaeologist Zhang Weixing first began to unearth and document the site. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.
The Purpose of the Terracotta Warriors
The purpose of the Terracotta Army is still a mystery. Some scholars believe that the figures were meant to serve as a symbolic representation of the emperor’s army and to protect him in the afterlife. Others believe that the figures were created to commemorate the emperor’s military conquests. Whatever the purpose, the Terracotta Army is an impressive feat of ancient engineering and a testament to the power of the Qin dynasty.
The Process of Making the Terracotta Warriors
The process of creating the Terracotta Warriors is complex and fascinating. The figures were made from clay, which was then fired in a kiln to give them a hard and durable surface. The figures were then painted with bright colors, and their facial features were added using a technique known as ‘cold paint’. After the figures were finished, they were placed in the tomb of the emperor.
Types of Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Warriors are divided into three main categories: warriors, chariots, and horses. The warriors are the most numerous of the three and come in a variety of poses and sizes. The chariots are larger and more elaborate, and are pulled by four horses. The horses are the most detailed of the three, with their heads and manes being particularly well-crafted.
Significance of the Terracotta Warriors
The Terracotta Army is an important archaeological discovery that provides a unique insight into the life and times of the Qin dynasty. It is a testament to the power and grandeur of the Qin empire and has become a symbol of China’s rich cultural heritage. The Terracotta Army is now a popular tourist attraction, and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Terracotta Warriors are an impressive and fascinating archaeological discovery that provides a unique insight into the life and times of the Qin dynasty. The figures are an impressive feat of ancient engineering and a testament to the power of the Qin dynasty. The Terracotta Army is now a popular tourist attraction, and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.