Faces of Terracotta Warriors

When visiting the Terracotta Army, you may find that the faces of the terracotta warriors are all different. Generally, they can be divided into eight basic shapes, “目” shape, “国” shape, “用” shape, “甲” shape, “田” shape, “由” shape, “申” shape, and “风” shape. The facial expressions of the warriors are also different from each other, some canny, some brave, some honest… to indicate their different characters and mental states.
8 Basic Face Shapes of Terracotta Warriors
Faces Shapes of Terracotta WarriorsFaces of Terracotta Warriors
 

Why the Faces of Terracotta Warriors Are All Different? 

We cannot find two same faces among the excavated terracotta warriors. This is closely related to their making process. Although the heads are moulded, the artisans would then carve the details one by one manually, hence making them different.

 See How the Terracotta Warriors were Made
 

 

8 Basic Face Shapes of the Terracotta Warriors

“国” shape-face:

Characterized by rectangle face, high cheekbones, wide forehead and cheek, this “国” shape-face indicate the fitness and strong body. It is the typical facial feature of Qin people, and you can find this kind of face commonly seen in modern countryside of Shaanxi Province where the Terracotta Army is located. 
 

“用” shape-face:

 Marked by oblong face and flat cheek and chin, some “用” shape-face warriors have prolate face and wide forehead, thin brows and slender eyes, look very beautiful and consonant; some endearing warriors with this facial shape have plump cheeks, small mouth, and thin lips. 

国 Shape Face
"国" Shape Face
用 Shape Face
"用" Shape Face

“田” shape-face: 

It is a round shape face near square with protruding forehead, nose tip, and cheekbones. While the parts of nasion, eyes and mouth are sunken. Those warriors fabricated with this face shape are relatively shorter and wiry, with visible muscles and strong body. 
 

“目” shape-face: 

There are quite a number of “目” shape-faced warriors among unearthed terracotta warriors, and they have narrow and long face with small five facial features. Thin eyebrows and lips, as well as the slender eyes are also the facial features of “目” shape face. 

Face of Terracotta Warrior
"田" Shape Face
目 Shape Face
"目' Shape Face

“甲” shape-face: 

"甲” shape-face has wide top and narrow bottom, protruding cheekbones and small sharp chin, like the shape of a melon seed, which is the pretty shape recognized by Chinese people. 
 

由 Shape Face
"由" Shape Face

“由” shape-face: 

The “由”' shape-faced warriors with long face, narrow forehead, wide cheeks, and big chin are not many. Besides, the plump “由” shape-face was matched with small eyes. 
 

“申” shape-face:

Modeling features of “申” shape-face: oval face with both narrow ends, slopping forehead, wide cheekbones and long chin. Almost all of the warriors with smiling '申' shape face have curved eyebrows and big eyes. 
 

“风” shape-face:

“风” shape-face has wide chin and underjaw, and the masseter is protruding, with the similar shape of a pear.
 

Lifelike Facial Expressions of the Terracotta Warriors

Qin artisans were skilled at using tiny details to express different characters and mental states. A person's temperament is often seen in his eyes, which is no exception to the Qin terracotta warriors. A canny warrior is recognized by his graceful eyebrow and eyes, a brave soldier's eyes are wide and staring, while a simple and honest soldier often has big head, wide face, bushy eyebrows and big eyes.

All the eyeballs of the Qin terracotta warriors are simple a convex shapes. Eyes are regarded as the window to a man's heart so the artisans carved different eyes to represent the "inner world" of the different soldiers. Some soldiers have squinty eyes and a tender smile to show their confidence to win the war; some soldiers have eyes wide open in a fury, filled with hate toward their enemies; and some soldiers are looking down, shy and quiet. The soldiers looking forward have their eyeballs in the center of the eyelids, and those who looking up have the eyeballs titled up slightly. Also, the eyes of the Qin terracotta warriors depict a single eye-lid, which basically match the truth that the Qin army is mainly composed of the people lived in the central Shaanxi plain. 
 

Every Chinese Can Find a Similar Face in the Terracotta Army, Coincidence or Prediction?  

Examined closely, almost every facial variation of modern Chinese can be found amongst the warriors. Out of great astonishment, some people guess the artisans practiced divination, by which they could predict the looking of Chinese people living over 2,000 years later. But this is only a guess not being proved true. The thing for sure is that the artisans must have observed the people around them deeply and thoroughly to find the main shapes and characteristics of Chinese people’s faces.

 Recommended Tour Itinerary:
Terracotta Warriors Tour: One-day to visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses and more
More Xian Tours

Next: Green-Faced Terracotta Warrior