Terracotta Army Facts

Were the Terracotta Warriors Made of Real Human Beings?

As one of the eight wonders of the world, Terracotta Army has long been surrounded by rumors. One of them is that the terracotta warriors were made of real human beings. However, this not only sounds cruel, but also is way too wrong in many ways. It has been proved by experts that the terracotta warriors were not made of real human beings but clay.
 

Why is there such a Rumor that Terracotta Warriors were Made of Real Human Beings?

1. In ancient times, especially the time before the construction of the Terracotta Army, many dead rich men and nobles were buried with alive people. They had those buried alive to serve them in their afterlife.

2. Qin Shi Huang was very cruel that he once buried many scholars alive, so it was likely that he made the terracotta warriors with human beings.

3. The terracotta warriors are so vivid and similar to real human beings, and each one looks different, which is hard to achieve by craftsmanship.

4. There is an episode in the TV series that a living person is smeared with clay and put into a kiln to burn into a terracotta soldier.

5. Reporters about the terracotta warriors returning to life make someone believe that they were originally made of human beings.
 Read more: 3 Mistaken Reports of Terracotta Warriors’ Returning to Life
 

Three Reasons Why the Terracotta Warriors were Not Made of Real Human Beings

1. Human sacrifice was not popular during Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s reign.

The state of Qin abolished using real human beings as funeral sacrifices from the beginning of King Xi'an. When it came to the construction time of the Terracotta Warriors, the barbaric customs had long been unpopular.
 

2. None human remains have been found inside the Terracotta Warriors

Actually, archaeologists have detected that the terracotta warriors are hollow in the upper body and solid in the lower part and human remains have never been found inside.

In addition, the terracotta warriors need to be fired at temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius. If it had been made by a real person, the terracotta warrior would not have had the perfect expression or the straight posture.
 

3. Population was precious at that time.

To defeat the other five states and unify China, continuous wars kept occurring, resulting in a sharp decrease in the population. Therefore, one of the most precious thing of for Qin Shi Huang was the population. According to statistics, there are about 8,000 Terracotta Warriors. Qin Shi Huang could not have had so many human beings buried for him.
 

What Were the Terracotta Warriors Actually Made of?

Clay is the main material used to make terracotta warriors. After research, experts have confirmed that the “yellow soil” used to make the clay was collected not far from the pits of terracotta warriors.

Firstly, clay was used to make the torso of the terracotta warrior from bottom to collar, then head, arms, and hands with molds; after, they were assembled together except the head, which needed further detailed carvings. The next main process was firing. Followed, the head would be attached and the whole terracotta warrior would be glazed and painted with colors.

Further Reading:
How were Terracotta Warriors Made?
Let’s Smash the 5 Rumors of the Terracotta Army

- Last modified on Mar. 22, 2021 -
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