Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang
In March 1974, the peasants who lived near the city of Xian, decided to dig a well. They worked tirelessly for 12 days in a row, five-meter deep pit was dug, but the water was never found. On the 13th day the shovel of a peasant stumbled on something hard. So the famous Terracotta Army was discovered…
Soon archaeological work began near Xian. The peasants found the first and apparently the main Terracotta Army battle unit which consisted of 6,000 figures. In 1980, scientists found the second unit – about 2,000 statues. In 1994, the General Staff was found underground – a collection of senior military commanders. A total more than 8,000 statues of soldiers and horses and 90 war chariots were discovered.
Terracotta Army was in the ground for more than two thousand years – since the death of the legendary Qin Shi Huang – a man who was able to unite China. But why did the great ruler spend much effort and money for the construction of such a grandiose composition?
The bloody era of the seven fighting kingdoms ended in victory of the Qin kingdom. For the first time in history China was united. Qin Shi Huang declared himself emperor and ordered to start construction of his tomb simultaneously with the construction of the Great Wall of China. A city of the dead was built around the funerary pyramid. Terracotta Army was only a small part of the great complex.
According to the long tradition emperor wanted to be buried with four thousand young men. However, wise counselors persuaded him to bury clay statues instead of living people. Eight thousand clay warriors had to protect the peace of the deceased emperor.
700 thousand craftsmen created masterpieces for over 30 years. Eleven guards columns ancient masters divided by thick walls.
After the death of Qin Shi Huang his son Qin Er Shi took the throne. His inept rule caused a storm of indignation. Peasant rebellion broke out. And the first blow fell on the Terracotta Army. Infuriated mob looted and burned motionless army and took real bows and arrows, spears, shields and swords. The peasant army defeated the government troops. Talentless son of the great ruler was killed. The fire in the tomb led to ceiling collapse and buried clay army in the wet ground for more than two thousand years.
For centuries, the robbers tried to find the treasures in the imperial tombs. Surprisingly, the clay soldiers guarded the spirit of their master. It is said that human skeletons were found among the excavated statues. But here’s the paradox: today, even clay, from which the walls are made, became golden. One Qin Shi Huang era clay brick is worth tens of thousands of dollars. The owner of only one brick can exchange it for a decent house in the vicinity of Beijing.
According to one version, the great emperor was buried in another place, and it is only a decoration…
Each statue was handmade with its own unique features. It is impossible to find two identical faces. They, by the way, show the multi-ethnicity of ancient China. There are the Chinese, Mongols, Uighurs, and Tibetans among the soldiers. Clothing and hairstyles strictly correspond to the fashion of the time, shoes and armors are reproduced with stunning accuracy. Warriors are 1,90 – 1,95 m tall.
Today, terracotta statues of warriors and horses are included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage sites.