Digital Pictures Index

9 March 18, part two.       China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors.

 An exhibition at the World Museum.

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 and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.
 The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District,
Xi'an, People's Republic of China, Shaanxi province.  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 nearby Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum.  Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other
pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.  The construction of the tomb was described by historian Sima Qian
(145-90 BCE) in his most noted work Shiji,written a century after the mausoleum's completion.  Work on the mausoleum began
in 246 BCE soon after Emperor Qin (then aged 13) ascended the throne, and the project eventually involved 700,000 workers.
 Sima Qian wrote that the First Emperor was buried with palaces, towers, officials, valuable artefacts and wondrous objects.
 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.
 High levels of mercury were found in the soil of the tomb mound, giving credence to Sima Qian's account.

Horse Keeper and Cavalry Horse.

Horse Keeper, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1995.
First Emperor's Mausoleum Site.

This is one of 11 terracotta horse keepers discovered near the First Emperor's mausoleum. 
The pit in which the figures were found is thought to represent the royal stables.  The horse
keepers were buries with 12 real horses which were found in coffins.  One of the horses had a
bronze knife in its mouth, suggesting that the animals were killed before they were buried.

Cavalry Horse, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1992.
First Emperor's Mausoleum Site.

Cavalry was an important military force of the Qin Dynasty.  It was lighter, faster and more efficient
than horse-drawn chariots in battle.  The First Emperor's terracotta army is composed of a large
cavalry unit made up of horses and armed cavalrymen.  The horses have saddles decorated with studs
and tassels, and their tails are plaited.  They were originally dressed with bridles and reins made of bronze.

Horse Keeper.

Bronze Chariot of the First Emperor.  Modern replica.

This is one of two model chariots discovered in 1980 west of the First Emperor's Mausoleum.  They were cast in bronze
and embellished with gold and silver.  They are thought to represent the chariots in which the First Emperor travelled
across his newly unified empire.  These models were buried when he died so he could carry on touring his empire in the
afterlife.  This is the leading chariot which was traditionally used for inspection and was intended to guard the the First
Emperor who travelled in the chariot behind.  It is drawn by four horses and driven by an unarmoured charioteer
who stands under a canopy.  The driver carries a sword tucked into his belt at his back and he has a shield inside
the carriage for protection.  There is a crossbow mounted at the front of the chariot box and a quiver full of
arrows on the left side so the driver could defend himself against attackers.

Bronze Chariot of the First Emperor.  Modern replica.

The second of the two model chariots discovered in 1980 west of the First Emperor's Mausoleum.  This model represents
the carriage in which the First Emperor might have travelled.  It is drawn by four horses and driven by a kneeling
charioteer armed with a sword.  Originally painted with bright colours, it is decorated with dragons, phoenixes,
clouds, diamonds and geometric designs.  It is said that this type of chariot was also used to carry the Emperor's
body back to Xianyang for his funeral.   According to the story, Qin Shi Huang was secretly transported in a
closed carriage followed by a cart filled with salted fish to conceal the smell of his decomposing body.

Stone armour, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1999.
First Emperor's Mausoleum Site.

Sets of stone armour and helmets were discovered in thousands of fragments in a pit east
of the First Emperor's mausoleum.  They are too heavy to have been worn by real soldiers
and would have offered no protection against weapons in battle.  It is thought the pit in which
they were found represented an armoury, meant to provide armour for the spirits of soldiers
who had died in the wars leading up to the unification of China.  This reconstructed suit is made
of more than 600 original pieces of limestone linked with copper wire, imitating iron armour.

Stone helmet, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1998.
First Emperor's Mausoleum Site.

A total of 43 stone helmets were found in thousands of pieces in a pit identified as an armoury for the afterlife.
 This is the only helmet which has been fully reconstructed and is an accurate representation of the iron
helmets which were first used in the late Warring States Period.

The Terracotta Warriors.

Armoured general, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1976.
Terracotta Warrior Pit 1.

Generals are the highest ranking warriors excavated from the pits.  Armoured generals can be identified by
their long double-layered robe covered with scaled armour which extends down the front in the shape of a 'V'.
 Their armour is decorated with ribbons tied into bows.  The design of the plaques suggests that generals wore
iron armour.  They wore a distinctive headdress in the shape of a double-tailed bird called the he guan,
meaning 'pheasant cap', a symbol of bravery and skill on the battlefield.  A hole under the left arm of
this general indicates that he probably held a scabbard to carry a sword.  The terracotta generals were
found near command chariots where the remains of bells and drums were also discovered.  On the
battlefield, generals rode in chariots equipped with, drums and flags to direct the troops.  The chariots
were usually drawn by four horses and generals were usually accompanied by two lower ranking officers.

Heavy infantryman, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1992.
Terracotta Warrior Pit 1.

Armoured infantry soldiers were part of the main battalion buried in the largest of the pits.  They were positioned
behind light infantry units and war chariots, and were originally armed with weapons such as swords, halberds and
crossbows.  This infantry soldier wears heavy armour covering his upper body and a long tunic underneath.  He has
short trousers as well as gaiters and short boots decorated with ribbons tied into bows.  His hair is tied in a bun
on the right side of his head.  Remains of red paint are still visible on the laces of his armour plates and legs
as well as on the ribbon in his hair.

Light infantryman, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1980.
Terracotta Warrior Pit 1.

Light infantry warriors were positioned at the front of the main battalion comprising heavy infantrymen,
war chariots and officers.  In the Qin Dynasty, the majority of infantrymen were made up of conscripted peasants.
On the battlefield, light infantry were first deployed as shock troops followed by heavy infantry.  Light infantrymen
moved more swiftly because they didn't wear armour.  This soldier wears over short trousers, gaiters and short boots.
 His hair is plaited and tied in a bun with a ribbon on the top.  His facial features and thick beard suggest he may
represent one of the people from the region around the north-west border of China.
 The position of his right hand indicates that he originally held a crossbow.

Military officer, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1979.
Terracotta Warrior Pit 1.

This unarmoured warrior comes from the main part of the army which was buried in the largest of the pits.
 His flat headdress called chang guan and his moustache identify him as a middle ranking officer.  He wears a
long tunic, a belt around the waist, short trousers, gaiters and a pair of shoes.  The position of his right arm
and hand suggests that he once held a long weapon such as a spear.

Charioteer, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1977.
Terracotta Warrior Pit 2.

Charioteers were found in all three pits of the Emperor's terracotta army.  They were originally buried
with real wooden chariots each drawn by four terracotta horses.  There are different types of charioteers.
 This one is the driver responsible for commanding the chariot.  Holding the reins with his clasped hands,
he stood in the middle and was accompanied by two armed charioteers on either side.
 His flat headdress called chang guan identifies him as a middle ranking officer.


Kneeling archer, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1989.
Terracotta Warrior Pit 2.

Kneeling archers were positioned in rows of two across four trenches and were surrounded by standing archers.
 This one wears a long tunic and heavy armour with overlapping plaques.  Remains of pigment around the abdomen
show that the laces tying the armour plates together were originally painted red.  The archer also wears short
trousers and two shin pads for protection.  The position of his hands suggests that he once held a crossbow.
 Qin Dynasty crossbows were slower to load than normal bows but required less skill and strength to use.
 Archers who used crossbows could shoot heavy bolts over long distances with great force and penetrating power.

Standing archer, Qin Dynasty.  Excavated in 1992.
Terracotta Warrior Pit 2.

Archers were positioned at the front of a battalion of cavalry and chariots in pit 2.  Standing archers were
arranged in a square battle formation surrounding rows of kneeling archers.  This soldier wears a long
tunic, a belt around the waist, short trousers and a pair of boots.  His hair is plaited and tied in a bun
with a ribbon.  The position of his hands suggests that he originally held a bow, ready to shoot the enemy.
 Unlike the kneeling archers, standing archers are all unarmoured.  In real life,
this would allow them to move more freely and swiftly on the battlefield.

The Terracotta Warriors.

Painted terracotta infantrymen, Han Dynasty.  Excavated in 1965.
Yangjiawan, Xianyang.

Nearly 2000 infantry figures were discovered near the tomb of a general.  The soldiers have colourful
robes and some also have painted armour.  The figures originally held weapons such as spears
and shields decorated with geometric patterns.

Painted terracotta cavalrymen and horses, Han Dynasty.  Excavated in 1965.
Yangjiawan, Xianyang.

The terracotta army buried near the tomb of a general at Yangjiawan contained more than 500
figures of horses and riders.  These cavalrymen originally held reins in one hand and a weapon in
the other.  Details of the saddles, harnesses and bridles were painted on the figures with bright colours.

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