Terracotta Kneeling Archers

The great mass of the terracotta kneeling archers were unearthed from Pit 2 of the Terracotta Army. To the east of Pit 2, there is an archery battle array, and the kneeling warriors are arranged at its center, surround by standing archers. This arrangement is a real reflection of battle formation in Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC). These vivid kneeling archery warriors attract a lot of tourists from all over the world for their lifelike appearances and rich facial expressions. In addition, they are regarded to be the quintessence of the Terracotta Army and the masterpieces of Chinese ancient sculpture. 
Terracotta Kneeling Archer
Terracotta Kneeling Archer
Excavation of Terracotta Kneeling Archers
Kneeling Archers in Pit 2

What Do the Terracotta Kneeling Archers Look Like?

The terracotta kneeling archers are life-size images of warriors of the time, and their height average is 1.2 meters (3.9 feet). Craftsmen paid more attention to details when making terracotta kneeling archers, and it’s easy to see that from these warriors’ exquisite left-of-center chignons, elaborate armor plates and stitching on the bottom of the shoes. Kneeling with right legs and squatting with left leg, nearly all of the warriors wear long robes covered with armor and squared shoes. It is worth mentioning that the warriors are sculptured with armor on upper body and both arms, and the structure and knit of the coat armor replicate the armor worn by soldiers during the combat of that time. These uniquely-shaped kneeling archers used to hold crossbows in both hands, which have weathered. 

Colored Terracotta Kneeling Archers

Tourists paying a visit to Terracotta Army can also enjoy several distinct terracotta kneeling archers with colorful appearances,which are very precious and rarely seen. They have black hair, pink faces, and vermilion headbands as well as powdery green coat armors. The leg guards are even colored sky-blue and pink. The bright colors have faded over thousands of years, but the conservation experts did a lot of work to preserve their original colorized coat and pigment. Hence, today visitors have the chance to appreciate the brilliant-colored warriors. Up to now, various types of colors have been discovered by archaeological conservators on these warriors, such as vermilion, pink, powdery green, orange, black and white. It’s clear to find the perfect combination of beautiful appearance and physical strength regards these warriors. 

 Further Reading: True Colors of Terracotta Warriors 

Colored Terracotta Kneeling Archer
Terracotta Kneeling Archers

Why the Terracotta Kneeling Archers Are Well-preserved?

Among the excavated terracotta warriors, most of them have been broken into pieces, except the kneeling archers, which are mostly well-preserved. If observed carefully, people can see the tiny hairs and the small folds of their dress. Why? There are two reasons for this:
1. They have low kneeling positions. The taller warriors, those standing, take the brunt of the attack, while those kneeling are spared and can retaliate.  
2. Their right knee and feet form a stable triangle to enhance their stability. Compared with the standing warriors, the kneeling warriors are stable and better avoid physical injury. 
Therefore, the terracotta kneeling archers are so well-preserved that the travelers can glimpse Qin archery warriors as they were, and after two thousand years.
  Infantry Warriors
 Cavalry Warriors
 Chariot Warriors
 Standing Archers
 Terracotta Horses
- Last updated on Apr. 12, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Kneeling Archers
Asked by Robert Chenoweth from UNITED STATES | Jun. 19, 2019 16:46Reply
Did Terra Cotta Army have compound or self bows
Wonderful information on crossbow archers. Has any evidence been unearthed detailing convention bow use? I see arrow heads with long tangs. This could fit into bamboo arrow or short crossbow bolt? In one week I will come to see the Army with my son.
Answers (1)
Answered by James from USA | Jun. 20, 2019 00:15

It is said there is a complete arrow unearthed but I'm not clear about the type and material.
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