|The Terra Cotta
Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of
the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers
east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum, Lintong County, Shaanxi province.
It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.
ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later
the first Emperor of all China, had work begun on his mausoleum. It took
11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial
objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants
uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb
in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came
to Xi'an in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established
beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty
(211 --206 BC).
The State Council authorized to build a museum onsite in 1975. When completed,
people from far and near came to visit. Xi'an and the Museum of Qin Terra
Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelerstinerary.
Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses arranged in battle
formations are the star features at the museum. They are replicas of what
the imperial guard should look like in those days of pomp and vigor.
The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three
sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were
tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest, first
opened to the public on China's National Day, 1979. There are columns
of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.
No. 2 Pit, found in 1976, is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained
over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the
public in 1994.
came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It
looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display
in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.
Altogether over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons
have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to
their former grandeur.
The Terracotta Warriors and Horses is a sensational archeological find
of all times. It has put Xi'an on the map for tourists. It was listed
by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.