The Terracotta Army was constructed to accompany the tomb of China’s First Emperor as an afterlife guard. There are thousands of detailed life-size terracotta soldier models represent the guard troops of the first emperor – Qin Shihuang. They were molded in parts, fired, then assembled and painted.
1. Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.
2. 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.
3. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals.
4. 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.
5. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.
6. The construction of the tomb was described by historian Sima Qian (145–90 BCE) in Records of the Grand Historian, the first of China’s 24 dynastic histories, which was written a century after the mausoleum’s completion.
7. The project eventually involved conscripted 700,000 workers.
8. Emperor was buried with palaces, towers, officials, valuable artifacts, and wondrous objects.
9. According to this account, 100 flowing rivers were simulated using mercury, and above them, the ceiling was decorated with heavenly bodies below which were the features of the land. Some translations of this passage refer to “models” or “imitations”; however, those words were not used in the original text, which makes no mention of the terracotta army.
10. The tomb itself had been looted by Xiang Yu, a contender for the throne after the death of the first emperor.
11. The Terracotta Army was discovered on 29 March 1974 by a group of farmers—Yang Zhifa, his five brothers, and neighbor Wang Puzhi—who were digging a well approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mi) east of the Qin Emperor’s tomb mound at Mount Li (Lishan), a region riddled with underground springs and watercourses.
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