Secret Revealed from the Ears of Terracotta Warriors

For a long time, archaeologists have been wondering how ancient craftsmen managed to carve more than 8,000 different Terracotta Warriors. There are two popular opinions. The first opinion suggests that craftsmen produced Terracotta Warriors by assembling different components made with a mold. The second opinion insists that these warriors were copies of real people and were made individually. Which one is true?
To answer the question, the British experts from the University of London, along with Chinese archaeologists, launched a research to accurately measure the shape of ears of Terracotta Warriors. The reason why they focused on the ear is because the human ear is as unique as a fingerprint. Therefore, if the Terracotta Warriors were the replicas of real people and produced individually, the ears on each statue will be unique.

Different ears prove the individuality of Terracotta Warriors

The traditional way of measurement is to hold the equipment and survey the statues on the spot. However, it could cause damage to the Terracotta Warriors because these fragile statues are closely together. So, the experts adopted a new technology called 3-D Reconstruction, by which the Terracotta Warrior’s shape can be accurately represented through digital information.
The research team selected 30 terracotta statues as samples, and then took photos of the left side of the heads from different angles. In this way, image of each Terracotta Warrior’s left ear were thoroughly captured. Then, they used these photos to make 3-D models for each ear. After analyzing these 3-D models of the ears, researchers found that each model was different from the others. Obviously, this result shows that the Terracotta Warriors were produced individually more than 2,200 years ago, and not on assembly line.

Other evidences shows that Terracotta Warriors were not made on an assembly line

1. Terracotta Warriors’ unique face shapes, hairstyles and headgears

Generally, the Terracotta Warriors have eight face shapes, such as a long or round face, a youthful face or a mature face, but they are all different. They also have different moustache some are bushy, whilst others are drooping or finely clipped. The statues’ differences can be seen also in their hairstyles and headgears. For instance, some have topknots; some wear hats and others wear hoods. Considering that over 8,000 figures have been found, the skillful combination of these facial details could not have been produced on an assembly line.
The uniqueness of each Terracotta Warrior also applies to their weapons. At first, many people thought that these weapons were mass produced. It was suggested for example, some craftsmen oversaw the manufacure of arrowheads, while others made the shafts. These two parts would finally be assembled. However, this theory was soon disproved, because the researchers found that each arrowhead had different a chemical composition. Moreover, the symbols and inscriptions on each weapon left by ancient craftsmen show that they were cast by different people at different times. When such demands are required for the effort of producing weapons, how much more significant were the demands for producing each individual warrior?

 Further Reading:
 Why do all the Terracotta Warriors have single eyelids?​
 Moustache of Terracotta Warriors​
 Face Shapes of Terracotta Warriors
 How the Terracotta Warriors were Made​
- Last updated on Sep. 03, 2020 -
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)