Pit K9901 - Acrobatics Figures
Pit K9901, also known as Acrobatics Figures Pit or Baixiyong Pit, is situated between the inner and outer city at the southeast area in the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum. Covering around 700 square meters (835 square yards) in total, this accessory pit stretches 40 meters (130 feet) from east to west, which shows the pattern of a Chinese character “凸”. Pit K9901 has three passages which were reinforced by the wood, but this structure collapsed because of fire, only left some relics of charcoals and wood ashes. The archaeologists have found eleven color-painted acrobatics figures and a bronze tripod in the first excavation in 1999. In the later archaeological excavations, the more relics including bronze utensils, bronze hemispheric ware, stoneware and more than 30 pottery figures has been unveiled o the world.
The discovery of these acrobatics figures in Pit K9901 has added a new team to Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum. They show the colorful acrobatic art and the entertainment culture in the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC) royal court. Acrobatics, or “Baixi” in Chinese, is the general name of ancient acrobatics and music, which includes different performances, such as pole climbing, wrestling dance, sword-swallowing and tripod lifting, among which the tripod lifting is the most popular one. These acrobatics figures were crushed into pieces when they were discovered, and the figures that have been repaired later vary in their expressions and postures, which vividly present what they are performing. Here below are some major excavations in Pit K9901:
Acrobatics Figure No.3 of 1999
The No.3 acrobat unearthed in 1999 is tough and brave. Measuring 6.2 feet tall, it has strong muscles on the chest and arms. This figure’s belly slightly bulged, with the right arm lifting upwards and the left thumb putting into the waist belt. Meanwhile, the left leg bent forward and the right foot steps on the floor heavily.
Acrobatics Figure No.5 of 1999
The No.5 acrobat of 1999 is about 6.6 feet tall, putting his hands with a cylindrical space in front of the stomach. It seems that there could be a wooden pole in his hand, which was decayed for years.
Acrobatics Figure No.3 of 2012
The acrobatics figure marked no.3 in Pit K9901 without head is 1.6 meters (5.2 feet) tall including the foot-plate, standing with legs apart and hands in front of the stomach. His upper body is naked, while the lower body is covered by the short skirt.
Acrobatics Figure No.4 of 2012
The no.4 figure is at the height of 1.57 meters (5.15 feet) without the head, whose body slightly turns to the left. He takes the left foot a step forward with his left hand uplifted. Unique to the other figures, he wears the clothing on the upper body and there are nine rows of circular decorations on the clothing. As the clothing he wearing, this acrobatics figure is also known as Paoding Figure. Besides, the cuffs of the clothing are ornamented with several geometric patterns.
Giant Acrobatics Figure
In addition, a giant pottery figure was found in Pit K9901 measuring 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) tall without his head, and even his foot is 0.32 meters (1 foot) long.
The bronze tripod was carved with exquisite animal and cloud patterns, which is believed to be the heaviest tripod with the weight of around 212 kilograms (467 pounds) in the mausoleum till now and it is regarded as the first tripod of the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum. It probably served as a performance tool of the acrobats who played wrestling, weight lifting, dancing for Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
The stone dice is called Shiboqiong, which is quite different from today’s dice. It has 14 sides and each side was carved with a Chinese characters or a number. It is believed to be an entertainment tool of Emperor Qin Shihuang. The experts predict that Shiboqiong could be the original form of today’s dice. However, it is still unknown that how 14 sides developed into today’s six sides.
1. The through ticket of the Terracotta Army has already included the entrance fee of Pit K9901.
2. The free shuttle bus from the Terracotta Army Museum to Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Park (Lishan Garden) can take you to see this accessory pit.