|The Terracotta Warriors are terracotta (clay-based ceramic) sculptures that depict the armies of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang / Photo by: Richardelainechambers via Wikimedia Commons|
The Terracotta Warriors are terracotta (clay-based ceramic) sculptures that depict the armies of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang. There are popular theories why the army was built, among them is that they were meant to protect the Emperor’s military power and rule in the afterlife. It was also believed that the Terracotta Army was intended to display the Emperor’s glory.
The Terracotta Army: First Discovery
In 1974, local farmers discovered the figures when they were digging a well to find a water resource. The military figures were all unique in appearance and showed a battle formation. Since then, groups of scientists worked together to excavate, preserve, study, and conserve the funerary art. The Terracotta Warriors held more than 8,000 life-sized statutes along with other figures, such as horses and chariots. Research shows that it took about 700,000 laborers during the Qin dynasty to complete the army and their tombs within 30 to 40 years. The clay soldiers were positioned according to their rank.
Now, the Terracotta Warriors just got more formidable as more than 200 additional terracotta sculptures were unearthed at the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. In a report published by the People’s Republic of China’s press Xinhua News Agency, it shared that archeologists have recently discovered 200 more warriors from the Terracotta Army. Twelve clay horses, bronze swords, colored shields, bows, and the remains of two chariots were also found at the site.
|In 1974, local farmers discovered the figures when they were digging a well to find a water resource. The military figures were all unique in appearance and showed a battle formation / Photo by: Andyw1803 via Pixabay|
A Depiction of How Ancient Chinese Military Operated
The archeologist who led the excavation, Shen Maosheng, told the press agency that the majority of the newly discovered Terracotta warriors were sculpted either carrying bows with their right arms at ease or holding poles with their fists partially clenched. These depict the soldiers’ responsibilities and battlefield roles and how the ancient Chinese warriors operated. Maosheng added that the newly discovered Terracotta Warriors also display individuality as they all boast distinct physical features, hairstyles, and expressions. Just like with the first 8,000 figures discovered, no two faces are alike and each has realistic and unique features.
Aside from Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Warriors, one of his most ambitious contributions to the country is the creation of the Great Wall of China.
|The archeologist who led the excavation, Shen Maosheng, told the press agency that the majority of the newly discovered Terracotta warriors were sculpted either carrying bows with their right arms at ease or holding poles with their fists partially clenched / Photo by: Wellcome Images via Wikimedia Commons|
Excavation at Pit No. 1
Maosheng and the team launched the new excavation at the Pit No. 1 site, which is 62 meters wide and 230 meters long and the site where the main army of more than 6,000 first Terracotta Warriors was discovered. No. 1 Pit is also the largest compared to the other three pits where the statues were discovered. Scientists continue to understand how vast sculptures were created. Previously, a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Archeology also announced that weapons found at the archeological site had been well-preserved because of the natural conditions of the pits where the statues were buried. Previous studies also suggest that the statutes were coated with anti-rust technology.
University of Cambridge’s Marcos Martinon-Torres said via American magazine Newsweek that the Terracotta Army feels like a “playground” for archeologists because it is so well-reserved, complex, and meticulously excavated that it raises many questions that require collaborative efforts. It likewise keeps the archeologists amused. What’s amazing to archeologists is that the clay soldiers remained untouched for over 2,000 years until 1974.
Writings of Chinese court historian Siam Qian during the Han dynasty also read that Emperor Qin had ordered the construction of the clay warriors shortly after he took the throne at the young age of 13. The historian said that the tomb was filled with models of offices, pavilions, and palaces as well as rarities and precious stones. Modern tests on the tomb of the First Emperor show a high concentration of mercury in the archeological site.
Number of Visits to Museums and Heritage Sites in China
As the sculptures are considered major works in China’s history, the mausoleum has been placed in the world heritage list. The People’s Daily, one of the biggest newspaper group in China, also shares that 53,215 people visit the Terracotta Army during the New Year’s holiday. Based on the said number of visitors, there is an increase of 19.9% YoY. Data was provided by the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Park in Xi'an city.
German database company Statista also published that there were 670.59 million people who visited the different heritage sites in China and 564.01 million visits to museums in 2012. The figures increased in 2017 with 1,147.73 million visitors in heritage sites and 971.72 million in Chinese museums.
Other noteworthy Chinese heritage sites include the Great Wall, Mount Taishan, Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudia, Mogao Grottoes, Mount Huangshan, and the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area.
By excavating 200 more Chinese Terracotta soldiers in the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the archeologists' discovery can also help boost heritage tourism in China.