Teracotta Army: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Teracotta Army.

  • The Terracotta Army is a vast collection of clay statues of warriors and horses. The life size figures can be seen on display in a purpose built museum near Xian in south east China.
  • The figures were discovered by farmers digging for a well, in 1974. Archaeologists soon determined that this was the largest collection of pottery figures found in the country.
  • The clay figures depict the army of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, and were buried with him in 210 BC. The figures were intended to protect the emperor in the afterlife.
  • Emperor Qin was the first man to rule all of China. He also devised a new system of government and spied on his people, as well as creating the Terracotta Army.
  • Over 6,000 soldiers are on display, as well as musicians and acrobats. The Terracotta Army display also includes life sized horses and chariots, all made from clay.

Terracotta Army

  • The arms, legs and bodies were all mass produced, rather like a modern day assembly line. The completed figures were placed in the pits according to military rank, just as in real life.
  • Each figure has realistic features and represented an actual person. They have different hairstyles and even have different expressions on their faces, ranging from calm to fierce.
  • The figures were probably painted with a mixture of coloured dyes and lacquer which has faded over the centuries. Small flakes of paint have been found by archaeologists.
  • Thousands of bronze weapons have also been found, including axes, spears, crossbows and swords, many are still very sharp.
  • Thousands of workers built the emperor’s burial chamber, which was at the foot of nearby Mount Li. The Terracotta Army was buried standing up in 4 huge pits nearby.

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