How tall are the Terracotta Warriors? Were ancient people taller than us?

The unearthed terracotta warriors are generally between 180cm and 190cm, with the highest around 200 cm and the average height of 185cm. However, if the base at the foot of the terracotta warriors and their hairdressings on the head are removed, the net height of the terracotta warriors is generally between 170 cm and 180 cm, and the average net height is about 178.5 cm.

Were ancient people taller than modern people?

According to the statistics of 2015, the average height of Chinese men is 170.6 cm, and that of Chinese women is 155.8 cm, which is much shorter than the terracotta warriors. As the terracotta warriors were made over 2,200 years ago based on the real human beings, does that mean the ancients are taller than the modern people? There are two different opinions on this.

Someone don’t think ancient people taller than modern people.

According to the historical records from Qin Dynasty ( (221 BC – 207 BC), the standard height line for male adults at that time was 156 cm.

In addition, the height of the terracotta warriors cannot be simply regarded as the height of ancient Chinese in the Qin Dynasty. This is because the terracotta warriors were chosen to guard the Qin Shi Huang Tomb, so the archetypes of the terracotta warriors must have been tall soldiers in an elite army. Also, to make the terracotta warriors look the same high with real people, the statues needed to be made a little higher than real people.

Someone hold that the ancient people are taller than modern people.

According to historical records, Confucius is 9 feet 6 inches tall; to measure in modern unit, it is 227 cm tall. Similarly, Zhang Fei’s height can be calculated as 185cm, Zhuge Liang 188cm, Liu Bei 177cm, Guan Yu 210cm and Lv Bu 236cm. All of these famous persons in history are tall except Liu Bei based on today’s standard.

A 6,000-year-old tomb has been found in Changdao, Shandong Province. The tomb owner is a female aged between 27 and 28 years old, with a height of 165 cm, over 9 cm higher than the average height of women today. In 2017, 5,000-year-old skeletons unearthed at the Jiaojia site in Jinan of Shandong Province were generally 180 cm tall. A 185 cm-tall human skeleton was dug up in Zhaobeihu Village to the west side of the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum. According to the common sense, he should have been more than 190 cm tall in his lifetime. A Qin skeleton unearthed in Chengdu was also more than 180 cm tall, and he should have been over 185 cm tall.

Across the world, humans did grow shorter from the post-ice age to the age of agriculture. Take the early humans of Europe, the Cro-Magnon peasants, for example. Most of the men were 180 cm tall, while the western European adult men during the pre-industrial period had an average height of less than 166 cm.

Why was ancient people taller than modern people?

1.    With development from hunting society to agriculture society, most people lost their height as a result of heavy farming work and decreased intake of animal protein.
2.    Generally speaking, those who were recruited into the army were strong and tall people, and many of them died in the fights. Those who stayed at home were old, weak, sick and disabled, and according to the theory of genetics, the next generation of these people was naturally short.
3.    Since the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) to early 20th century, ancient Chinese believed that the smaller feet look better. Women were forced to have their feet bound, which directly leads to lower limb skeletal dysplasia and also affects the development of offspring.

- Last updated on May. 24, 2021 -
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