Terracotta Army, Xi'an
Qin Terra Cotta Warriors are one of China’s rare historical relics excavated today and enjoy the fame of the world. They were crafted 2,200 years ago during the Qing Dynasty and can now be viewed inside some parts of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Most of the works are soldier and horse figures.
In the spring of 1974, when some peasants were digging a well in Lintong County of Shaanxi Province, they came across the secret of the Terra-Cotta Army - a huge army of troops underground. Life-size soldiers and horses made of pottery were lined in orderly ranks, as if ready for the emperor's inspection. A total of over 7,000 pottery soldiers, more than 100 chariots, 4,000-plus pottery horses and as many as over 100,000 weapons were found in three pits of the mausoleum. Bronze weapons like swords, spears, halberds and rocked blades unearthed from the pits were still glistening and sharp, despite being buried underground for over 2,000 years - something of a marvelous wonder in the world metallurgical history.
Read more from http://english.visitbeijing.com.cn/play/culture/n214966647.shtml
We enter pit 1, the larger one, and we get immediately the notion of the huge size of the archaeological site. But they alert us that only a small part is dug, and that the main open area is pit 3. Why?
Because it is the headquarters. Generals, nobles and other important people seem to be represented there. Well, maybe historically that is important, but for the general visitor like us nothing beats the impact of the immense pit 1.
Well done, this explanatory film, explaining the construction of the statues and their destruction by the mongols.
The synthesis is perfect, and we really feel in the middle of the action.
Twenty minutes that you shouldn't miss, at no extra charge.
We knew from the media and advertising the importance of this discovery; even so, the grandiosity of the whole, and the quality of the recovering work and preservation that continues, allow some surprise.
A very well conceived 360º film explains how time led to the actual situation: the construction, the destruction by the mongols, the recent discovery. It is, really, enough reason to visit Xi'an.
The Terracotta Army is wonderful. There are over 8,000 of them, although not all have been excavated yet. They were made to accompany the first Qin Emperor in the afterlife. The soldiers are hollow (so their spirits can enter, our guide said.) Each face is different, and they are all very realistic. There are footsoldiers, generals, horsemen and archers, all wearing the proper uniforms. They had real weapons, which are long gone.
They were discovered in 1974 by a poor farmer who was digging a well. He doesn’t farm any more—he now sits in the museum shop and signs copies of the book about the site. Somehow the discovery was kept secret from the Red Guards, and they didn’t have a chance to destroy them like they did so many other things.
The museum opened in 1979. Three pits are now open to the public. Pit 1 is the biggest, with about 6,000 warriors (only 2,000 excavated.) Pit 3 is the newest area uncovered. Restoration is like a giant puzzle, as some of the figures are badly damaged. We saw many figures that have been beautifully restored, as well as areas with a jumble of broken pieces at the bottom of a trench.
Open 8:30 to 5.
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum is the mausoleum of first feudalism emperor Ying Zheng in Chinese history, was initially named " Li Shan". According to the historical records, the mausoleum has started to be planed when he ascended the throne at the age of 13. The enormous project has lasted for 38 years; over 700,000 labours were summoned to construct the mausoleum.
Archaeological investigation shows: The mausoleum is grand in size and rich in burial objects. It covers an area of 56.25 square kilometers. Around the tumulus, over 60o sites have been discovered, including the ruins of the surface buildings, the burial pits with different contents, as well as subordinate tombs. Furthermore, over 50,000 cultural relics have been unearthed from these sites. Therefore experts think: all these things that the emperor needed in his real life was required in his afterlife. The mausoleum is an underground reproduction of the earth world.
On December 7, 1987, Emperor Sin Shihuang's Mausoleum and the terra-cotta warriors and horses three pits were listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Admission: Y110 including admission to Terracotta Army Museum.
In Chinese: 秦始皇帝陵， qin shi huang di ling.
After visiting Li Shan, I took the bus 306 for 25 minutes to Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. This archaeological site and museum is the world famous and listed as UNESCO WORLD Heritage Site. The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, built this site with the belief that he could continue be protected by terracotta warriors and houses after death. This remarkable historical site had shown how powerful and ambitious Emperor Qin during his ruling of China.
Emperor Qin 's Terra-cotta pits are the large attendant pits, located 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum, symbolizing the main defending force that guarded the capital before the emperor died. The pits were never mentioned in the historical records until Pit 1 was discovered in March, 1974 by local farmers while drilling a well. Then archaeologists began the explorations and excavations. On October 1st, Emperor Qin's Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum was open to the public.
Pit 1, the largest pit, is a subterranean earth-and wood structure. It measures 230 meters long from east to west, 62 meters wide from north and south. It's assumed that more than 6,000 pottery warriors and horses will be unearthed from this pit. All the statues are big in life-size and exquisitely made, representing high technology in Chinese sculptural history. They are reputed as the " Eight Wonder of the World". The excavation of the terra-cotta warriors and horses provides extremely valuable data for the research of Chinese ancient politics, military affairs, science and arts.
Located 20 meters to the north of Pit 1 at the eastern end, Pit 2 is in "L" shape. This pits was discovered in April 1976, covering an area of 6,000 square meters. It measures 124 meters long from east to west, 98 meters wide from north to south and 5 meters deep.
Different from Pit 1, Pit 2 consists of mixed military forces in four arrays: archers, war chariots, cavalrymen and infantrymen. The four arrays seemed to exist independently, but could be assembled immediately to constitute a complete battle formation during the war times. This reflects the unique strategy of Qin military affairs.
The excavation work of Pit 2 is still continuing. At present a large area of the remnants of the roof beams and small part of the pottery warriors and horses are being exhibited in the pits. It is a rare chance for visitors to enjoy the archaeological digging at the site.
Pit 3 is a smaller pits comparing to pit 1 and 2. Most of the warriors on this pits are without heads, and mostly are high ranking officers and a war chariot.
Don't miss the Museum if you have more time to discover the history and the archaeological process of Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses.
Admission: Y110 ( Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum & The Emperor Qin Shihuang's mausoleum Site Park including transport between two sites )
In Chinese: 兵马俑博物馆，bing ma yong bo wu guan.
The Terracotta Army was discovered in March 1974 by a farmer digging a well, very close to the location of Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb. Buried for approx 2,200 years, apparently it took some 38 years and 720,000 builders to complete this Army and the Tomb so that a whole army could accompany its emperor into immortality!
Every soldier differs from the next in facial features, expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures. The horsemen, infantry, archers, senior officers and generals were positioned in strict accordance with the rules of battle formation relevant at the time. Many of the soldiers originally held real weapons of the time such as bronze swords, longbows, arrows, spears and dagger-axes that even after all this time, haven't blunted or rusted.
We spent a day at the Terracotta Warriors, the museum and archaelogical site. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip! Current estimates are that in the 3 pits open to the public, there are over 8,000 life-sized soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits. Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other areas including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.
The scale is quite something to behold as the pits are so big, the figures are so vivid and the sheer number of the figures is so incredibly large!
I have included more information on my Xi'an page and the photos in the Travelogue
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/145713/f3840/#ixzz1rsWJxKZl
It was built for sacrificial activities of mausoleum, covering an area of 3524square meters, which consist of the main palace, the subordinate palace, the verandah, the porch. Unfortunately, the splendid buildings of those day had disappeared, what remains on the surface of the earth is only some vestige of the rammed earth, pebbles on the rammed platform, some building materials, iron tools and daily supplies.
It is a rammed earth platform in east-west direction, shaped like the Chinese character 中 and consists of the central bigger rammed earth platform and smaller platform in both sides. The height of the platform above the surface is 5 meters and 2.8 meters respectively. Buildings on the central platform is main, the both sides are subordinate. What remains on the surface is a large amount of building materials, including the shreds of broad plain tile, tube-shaped tile, ridge tile and stone column bases.
Pit 9901 is a new pit discovered in Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum. During my visit, I could only see the the digging work in progress!!
Remains of Timbers
The corridors and the earthed-rammed walls were originally covered by the timbers, all wooden materials were rotted or burnt, now these are the remains of the timbers. Through the identification, the materials is mainly fir timbers, about 4.5-5 meters long, 0.3-0.4 meters thick.
Pit K0006 is located 50 meters southwest of the Emperor's tomb mound. It was discovered in 2000 and fully excavated, covering an area of 410 square meters and consists of the sloping passage, the front chamber and the back chamber. Traces of wooded chariot, nine skeletons of horses were found. Eight terra-cotta figures with their hand inside sleeves, four charioteers, four bronze yue axes, one bronze ring, ten bronze finials of the chariot canopy as well as pottery jar were unearthed from the pit. In the field of Qin studies, there is a heated discussion about the use of the pit, some of the historical thought these figures may represent a kind of civil officials who was in charge of the imperial judicature and prisons. Some others think, it was a stable for the emperor, and some argue that these burial objects were used to prepare the emperor' strip.
Pit K006 is a subterranean earth-and wood structure. Its construction way is : first, dig out the east-west orientating pit, about 5 meters deep, with soil frame work. Then again construct earth-rammed walls around the edge of soil frame work, with 2.7 meters high, 1.3-1.5 meters top wide, 0.8 meters bottom wide. The bottom of pit were rammed solidly by earth and paved with floor planks in order. Above the floor planks, side planks were laid side by side along the edge of the earth-rammed walls. The earth-rammed walls sustained wood roof that was composed of square or round rafters, covered by layers of fiber mats on which fine soil was filled. Finally, the combination of pit body and the sloping doorway was blocked by the pillars.
The Ruins of Inner City Walls :
The inner city wall is rectangular from north to south. According to the survey, it is 1355 meters long from south to north and 580 meters wide from east to west. The perimeter of the inner city wall is 3870 meters, wall base has width of 8 meters. The whole walls were rammed by the earth. There are six gates in the inner city walls, the watch towers were built with each of the gates. The long verandahs which were built along the two sides of the inner wall, were discovered for the first time in the field of Chinese archaeology.
The Underground Palace:
The underground palace is the most important part of the tomb structures and a place for housing coffin. According to the historical records, a great amount of priceless treasures, the ingenious machines, and magnificent palaces, made Qin Shihuang's tomb different from any other mausoleum. Archaeological investigation shows: there is the surrounding wall which builds with the unfired brick in the underqround palace, gates and tomb passages in each side, and complex drainage facilities. The opeing of the palace's gate would solve more mysteries.
115 meters high originally, remains 51.3 meters in height now. The whole shape of the tumulus is close to a square-based pyramid with flat top and two slightly terrace in the middle, which forms a triple steps. The mound was built by rammed earth. The base of the tumulus is 515 meters long from north to south, 485 meters wide from east to west, 2,000 meters in perimeter, coversan area of 250,000 square meters. Archaeological investigation show: the earth of tumulus is taken from the pond area and is dug out from the tomb.
Often considered the 8th Wonder of the World, the Terracotta Army is one of Chinas major attractions.
Discovered in 1974 by accident when some peasant farmers were digging for a well, they came across what was to be one of the most important archeaological discoveries of the 20th Century.
An army of life-sized soldiers made of terracotta clay. They are attributed to the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd Century BC.
The army is situated in 3 pits with #1 being the largest and first to be excavated. Here, 6000 soldiers have been uncovered, along with horses and parts of chariots. Each figure stands about 6 feet on a pedestal and no 2 are alike, having been taken fom life. It is suggested they were created to guard the tomb of the emperor himself in the afterlife.
The museum complex includes several buildings housing each of the 3 pits. There are exhibits of some soldiers protected in glass, enabling one to study the details up close. There are also weapons and armor as well as 2 stunning chariots uncovered from the tomb.
In addition, there is a restaurant on the premises as well as gift shops. One reaches the museum complex from the parking area by either foot or muti-passenger golf carts. Seperate tickets are required for these in addition to the museum itself.
The museum is outside of the city proper. So, the best way to reach it is either by bus or by tour. I had booked a private tour that also included the Big Goose Pagoda and the City Walls.
Alongside the General there is a separate exhibit of the Kneeling Archer. This was my favourite and I would think he would be at the forefront of any military activity.
The second photo is of a notice re the Kneeling Archer.