The Terracotta Army 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 with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife. The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi’an, Shaanxi, China. One of the discoverers was on site during my visit and I was able to get his autograph.
The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that 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.
Qin Shi Huang’s actual mausoleum is still buried under a huge mound and has not been excavated, imagine the wonders inside that tomb!
Here is an illustration of what the tomb may look like.