Terra Cotta Army
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is located at Lintong District, 30 km East of Xi’an. It is the most significant archaeological excavation of 20th century. It is also one of the must see tourist attraction and wonders of China because of its long history and uniqueness.
It was accidently discovered by local farmers while they were drilling for water near the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang (246-210 BC) who unified China 2200 years ago. It is situated 1.5 km’s East of Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum. You can meet the person who supposedly discovered them sitting at a hall and signing the postcards at the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses.
State Council authorized to build a museum on the site the year after it founded. The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters and divided into three sections; No.1 Pit, No.2 Pit and No.3 Pit and arranged in the order of their discoveries.
No.1 Pit is the largest among three Pits and opened to general public in 1979. In No.1 Pit, there are columns of solders at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. It was arranged to guard the First Emperor of China and they look like as if they are preparing for battle. It total covers an area of 14,260 square meters. No.2 Pit contains over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was discovered 20 meters Northeast of No.1 Pit and made available to general public in 1994. It is covered an area of 6,000 square meters. No.3 Pit was discovered by Archaeologist in 1976 from 25 meters Northwest of No.1 Pit. It is total covered an area of 520 square meters.
Since 1974, more than 8,000 soldiers, and 130 chariots with 520 horses have been discovered. The faces of the officers are said to be modelled by the sculptures on the actual imperial guards during those times. They are also arranged strictly according to their ranks and battle formation. The warriors were master –crafted that all uniquely different in appearance and facial expressions. Many of the figures originally held real weapons of times; like bronze sword, arrows, spears and many more. According to historian Sima Qian (145-90 BC), construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and involved 700,000 workers. Qin Shi Huang was 13 when construction began. His tomb is under an earthen pyramid 76 meters tall and nearly 350 square meters. The First Emperor was buried with palaces, scenic towers, officials and “wonderful objects” with underground rivers fashioned by mechanically circulated mercury accompanied the emperor in his afterlife. Recent scientific work at the site has shown high levels of mercury in the soil adding credence to the historical account.
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses supplies abundant detailed artefacts for the study of military, economic and cultural studies of Qin Dynasty. It was selected UNESCO in 1987 as a World Heritage.