Terracotta Army Facts

Bronze Chariots and Horses

Two large scale models of bronze chariots and horses came unearthed in December, 1980, about 20 meters (22 yards) west to the mound of Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum. Tagged Bronze Chariot and Horses No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, they were originally encased in a wooden box which was buried 8 meters (26 feet) down in a trench for over two thousand years. Both of them required extensive restorations, before displayable in public. No. 2 Chariot was unveiled first in 1983, then No.1 Chariot in 1988. Visitors can now appreciate them in the Exhibition Hall of Historical Relics of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum next to Terracotta Warriors Pit 2.
No.1 Bronze Chariot and Horses
No.1 Bronze Chariot and Horses
Qin chariot in Terra Cotta Warriors Museum
No.2 Bronze Chariot and Horses

  Bronze Chariots and Horses Pictures


Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Vehicles in Afterlife

Serving as the vehicles for the inspection tours of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in his afterlife, these two chariots and horses are half size scale models as the real ones of Qin Dynasty (221 – 207BC), faithfully copied down to the last detail, and each complete with a team of four strong horses and a coachman. You can also see coachmen armed with swords on both sides guarding the chariots. They were constructed with bronze and cast bullion, but beyond that there are plenty of gold and silver pieces, which weighs about 14 kilograms (30 pounds) in total. Decorated with geometric and cloud patterns, the two square carriages with single shaft and dual wheels were drawn beautifully in various colors, including red, violet, and blue. They are the earliest found, largest, and best-preserved bronze carriages in China. 

No. 1 Bronze Chariot and Horses

No. 1 Chariot is the vanguard. There is a large umbrella providing shade from the sun. Its handle is flexible and rotatable to block the sun from different angles, hence this umbrella was considered as the world's earliest sunshade. A driver is standing below the umbrella, with his hands holding the horses’ rein. The entire bronze carriage and horses of No. 1 are decorated with exquisite colored drawings, and gold and silver ornaments weighing over 3,000 and 4,000 grams (6.6 and 8.8 pounds) respectively. 

Measurement: 225 cm long x 152 cam high (89 x 60 inches)
Weight: 1,061 kilograms (2,340 pounds)

coachman statue in Terra Cotta Army Museum
Coachman Statue
Bronze horses on Qin chariot
Bronze Horses Standing Side by Side

No. 2 Bronze Chariot and Horses

It is larger than the No. 1 Bronze Chariot and Horses and the chariot is enclosed. The horses are richly adorned with gold and silver gears. The chariot has three windows, one out front, and one on each side in the compartment, and a door opens at the back. One may open and close the windows and the door. The roof is umbrella shaped, said to be symbolic of the round sky. There is a kneel-sitting figure driving the No. 2 bronze vehicle. 

Measurement: 317 long x 106 high cm (125 x 42 inches)
Weight: 1,241 kilograms (2,736 pounds) 

No.2 Bronze Chariot and Horses
Side View of No.2 Bronze Chariot and Horses
No.2 Bronze Chariot and Horses
The door is on the back of the chariot.

Advanced Manufacturing Techniques

Qin artisans adopted a lot of superb crafts during the manufacture process, such as casting, soldering, and riveting. A total of more than 5,000 components and parts are used on the bronze chariots and horses, and each of them is complete and independent. It is innovative that the craftsmen split the complex components into simple parts, and they manufactured the simple ones separately and assembled them into a complex part. For instance, the horse’s headstall is fabricated with 82 and 78 tiny gold and silver tubes, which are flat and only 0.8 centimeters (0.3 inches) long. 

Repair the Umbrella of the Chariot
The Umbrella of the Chariot under Repair
The Wheels of the Chariot
The Wheels of the Chariot

Magnificent Colored Drawings

The two excavated chariots possess magnificent colored drawings to show its gorgeousness and magnificence. The chromatic decorations can conceal the patching traces cleverly, and they play an important role in delaying the oxidation of bronze as well. White is the underpainting, and blue and green are the common colors appeared on the bronzed carriages. The 8 white horses equipped to the chariots have pink mouths and nostrils, and the drivers have blue-black hair, pink faces and sky-blue long robes. 

 Recommended Tours including the visit to Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses:
Terracotta Warriors Tour: One-day to visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses and more
More Xian Tours

Next: Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum

media recommendationfeatured on media