What Are the Terracotta Warriors Wearing?

The terracotta officers wear distinctive headgears, dual or single layer knee-length gown, pants, a pair of shallow shoes, and are covered with a piece of colorful armor, looking grand and awe-inspiring. Most terracotta soldiers also wear a knee-length gown, a piece of armor, a hat or hood, pants and shallow shoes or boots. Some soldiers do not wear armor; they fight in light equipment.

What Are the Terracotta Officers Wearing?

The officer figure, terra cotta warriors
A Terracotta General
 Terracotta Warriors Pictures


Almost all the terracotta officers were made with flat bun covered by distinctive headgear. Some headgears in a length of 15 cm (6 inches) or so have approximately oblong shape with bending latter part; some have trapezoid shape; and some headgears have twirling latter part looking like a pheasant’s tail. In real life, their material was leather or multi-layer wax cloth, and the headgears were in ochre or vermilion color mainly. There are two strings tied on both sides of the headgear to fix it on warrior’s head. 


Knee-length Gown and Long Pants


As for clothes, a majority of terracotta warriors wear knee-length gown. However, some superior officers were fabricated with dual layer gown, and other officers wear single layer gown. Both of the single layer and dual layer coats have same configuration with long sleeves. Observing the officer warriors closely, it is easy to find that nearly all of them are in long pants. 



Almost all the terracotta officers were covered by armor with smooth edge and colorful lace which is used to protect them in the wars. The armor of different ranked officers is different. 

In actual life, armor for superior officer was made with leather. The front of the armor is below the warrior’s chest, and there are some small plates stitched on the armor at the back waist. Colored drawing and pattern are painted on the armor where there is no plate, and you can also find several knots made with colorful laces on the armor. Some of the superior officers’ armor has a shoulder protector and some does not. 

There are two different styles of armor used for junior officers. One is the chest armor coat with braces, which has no back part and shoulder pads and should be made of whole piece of leather back in Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC). In the center of the leather are eleven rows of plates. We can see exquisite geometric patterns drew on its braces. The other one is colorful scale armor coat covering front and back sides as well as shoulder pads. As its name indicates, many small square scale plates are linked together on the leather to assemble a complete armor. 

Ordinary officers wear unlaced armor coat. This armor is assembled by hundreds of brown black plates directly. Its front side is longer than the back side, and there are no patterns painted on the armor, either. 
Dressing of Terracotta Officers
Middle and Lower Rank Terracotta Officers
Shoes of Terracotta Warriors
Shoe Sole with Stitches

Shallow Shoes

All of the unearthed terracotta officers wear shoes, which have basically same boat-shaped appearance of thin shoe sole, low sides, and curled toecap. In addition, the shoe soles are distinctive because they have dense stitches on its forefoot and heel part to resist skid, and sparse stitches on its foot arch part to ensure comfort, hence they are reputed as the “earliest outdoor shoes”.

What Are Terracotta Soldiers Wearing?  


Hat or hood is equipped to Qin soldiers. The bowl-shaped hat for terracotta cavalry warriors has a domed top and short forepart, while the trailing edge of the hat is long, and there is a white peach blossom pattern carved in its middle back side; according to historical records, they were made of deerskin in real life. Most soldiers wear conical soft hood to cover their chignons. It is made with a single layer soft cloth. The color of the hood is mostly vermilion. Besides, some soldiers wear neither hat nor hood, only a hair band is used to fix their chignons. 
Dressing of a Terracotta Cavalry Soldier
Dressing of a Cavalry Soldier
Dressing of Terracotta Soldiers
Terracotta Soldiers
Dressing of Terracotta Soldiers
The Soldier Wearing a Hood

Mostly Knee-length Gown and Short Pants

Nearly all soldiers wear knee-length gown and short pants. However, the cavalry solider wear Hu dress ("Hu" refers to the northern minorities living in the northwestern part of ancient China) and long pants. Unlike the loose clothes worn by the people living in the central China at that time, Hu dress was tight which was easy for horse racing and archery.


Compared to terracotta officers, soldiers wore relatively simple armor coat which is made of plates only. The plates on the armor are larger and the quantity is smaller. The armor worn by terracotta soldiers have front side and back side as well. In general, they can also be divided into two types with and without shoulder pads. Many of the soldiers do not have armor. 


Shallow Shoes or Boots

Most terracotta soldiers wear shoes while a few wear boots. The shoes are similar to those of officers but the toecaps are less curved. Boot is the symbol of Hu dress with thin soles, round toecaps and short bootlegs; they were mostly for cavalry warriors.

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

Next: Bronze Chariots