Army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses

The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses is the main attraction tour in the city of Xian, it is a group of more than 8,000 life-size soldiers, 670 horses and chariots made out of terracotta. The Terracotta Army are a UNESCO site and were first discovered by farmers in 1974, today more than 40,000 visitors come to see them each day. But where did they come from and what is their significance?

Emperor Qin Shi Huang united China and established the Qin Dynasty, marking the beginning of 2000 of feudal rule. The soldiers were created to be buried with him and guard him in his afterlife. The construction started approximately in 246BC and more than 7,000 artisans and workmen were employed to produce them. When construction of the emperor’s mausoleum began the emperor was only 13 but by the time he died almost an entire kingdom had been recreated to be buried with him. His army was placed in vaults about 1.5km from the Emperor’s tomb or mausoleum. It is believed that the underground palace remained intact for all these years thanks to traps and schemes set up to deter grave-robbers.

The soldiers are not all identical, each has unique facial expressions, hair styles, posture and their height ranges from 183 to 195cm. there are standing infantry soldiers, kneeling archers, cavalry and officers. The figures were originally painted but the paint has worn off almost completely revealing the terracotta. Other figures included in the group are officials, strongmen, musicians, acrobats, chariots and farm animals like goats and pigs. Also on display in the museum are two bronze chariots which were discovered nearby, they each have 4 horses, complete with bridles and saddles.

The Terracotta Army is located about 30km from Xian, they are within 3 pits each 4-8 meters deep; Pit 1 is the largest and most impressive while Pits 2 and 3 are often thought less interesting and could be left off of a tourist itinerary. Before entering the site visitors get to see a 360° movie in English about the background of the Terracotta Army, the movie lasts 15 minutes and is included in your entrance ticket. Also included in the ticket is a visit to the nearby Qin Shihuang Mausoleum which is not yet excavated. Archeologists predict that even greater wonders remain to be discovered in the mausoleum, including rivers of quicksilver, treasures and a palace.

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