china edition
 

 

Xian - Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

Shaanxi - Xian - Yan'an

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 kilometer east of the Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. It is a sight not to be missed by any visitor to China.

Upon 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. The State Council authorized to build a museum on site in 1975. When completed, people from far and near came to visit.

Terra Cotta Warriors and HorsesXian and the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses have become landmarks on all travelers' itinerary. 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 meter, divided into 3 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 meter northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994. Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, 25 meter 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 4 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 Xian on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.