Terracotta Army Facts

Why are the Terracotta Warriors Important?

The Terracotta Warriors located in Lintong District of Xi’an, about 40 km (25 mi) from downtown, are no doubt a must-visit attraction for all tourists in Xi’an. This underground army remained undisturbed for over 2,200 years until its discovery in 1974 by local famers by chance. No sooner than the news was spread, it has shocked the whole world. Why are the Terracotta Warriors important? What appeal do they hold? Here are some explanations.
 

1. The Terracotta Army is an important part of the mausoleum of the first emperor in Chinese history.

The Terracotta Army has been proved to be a part of the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor in Chinese history. On one hand, it stands out of imperial tombs through all dynasties in terms of size, number of funerary pits, and variety of funerary objects. On the other hand, it shows the glorious lifetime of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. During Qin Shi Huang’s reign from 246 to 210 BC, he had made great achievements like unifying the separate vassal states, commanding the construction of the Great Wall to defend against nomads, standardizing the measurement units and currencies. Standing in front of the Terracotta Warriors, the vivid scene of the first emperor of China and his army conquering other states will come into your mind easily. You can imagine how Qin Shi Huang commanded the military forces to complete the amazing feat of unifying the country.
 

2. It’s the largest ancient military museum in China.

The Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum covers a total area of 56.25 square kilometers (13,900 acres), nearly 77 times larger than the Forbidden City. In 1987, Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum and the Terracotta Army were approved by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage and were hailed as the "eighth wonder in the world". Archeologists also regard it as one of the greatest finds in the twentieth century.
 

3. It’s a treasure for studying ancient military science of China.

The Terracotta Army is not only a sketch of ancient Chinese military formation, but also a true epitome of the army in the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC). Up till now, about 8,000 pottery warriors and horses have been found in total from the three pits of the Terracotta Army. They made up a huge military array consisting of different arrays such as chariots, cavalry and infantry. The terracotta warriors and horses, along with the unearthed bronze weapons, have provided concrete examples for many historical military puzzles such as the method of arranging military array, the establishment for the Qin army unit, and the weapons used by the Qin army.

Read more: Military Formation of Terracotta Army
 

4. The Terracotta Warriors are a pearl in ancient Chinese sculpture art.

In the past, it was believed that the sculpture art rooted in China in the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD) together with the introduction of Buddhism. However, the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors has overturned this opinion. The facial expressions of the Terracotta Warriors are all different from each other. It’s no exaggeration to say that no two warriors look alike. You can even tell the age, rank, nationality, and character of the warriors from their clothing, headwear, and hairstyle, etc. The terracotta horses, constructed following the appropriate proportion of real horses, look extraordinarily realistic. The torsos are mostly the same, but the heads were crafted exquisitely, making them as vivid as the Terracotta Warriors. They indicate that the sculpture art of China was well-developed in the Qin Dynasty and could rival that of the ancient Greece and Rome. 

By the way, it’s estimated that nearly 1,000 craftsmen have participated in the making of the Terracotta Warriors. It’s rare to see so many people engage in a same project in sculpture art history through all times and countries.
 

5. The unearthed weapons show the highly developed metallurgical techniques of China over 2,200 years ago.

More than 40,000 pieces of bronze weapons have been unearthed in the Terracotta Warriors pits, most of which are copper plated. Besides, there are many swords, daggers, crossbows, arrowheads, billhooks, spears, halberds, spears, and axes. All the weapons were well manufactured. The surfaces of the swords had undergone anti-oxidation treatment, thus having good properties of anti-corrosion and anti-rust. Though having been buried underground for more than 2,200 years, the blades still glitter and remain sharp. These fine weapons prove that the metallurgical techniques of China had already reached an advanced level in the Qin Dynasty, a miracle in the history of metallurgy.

Read more: Top 10 Weapons of Terracotta Army

- Last modified on Jul. 15, 2020 -
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