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 quick 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 did time lead to the actual situation: the construction, the destruction by the mongols, the recent discovery. It is, really, enough reason to visit Xi'an.
The question that I and probably thousands of visitors to the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors ask is WHY? Why spend what may appear to be a life time of effort to dig out 3 HUGE pits, fill each with exquisite life-sized terracotta warriors and horses and then to seal it all, cover it with logs, matting and finally soil? I suppose the same question can be asked for the pyramids of Egypt and other structures recognising dead kings or leaders.
The well-presented museum is about 35 km from the centre of Xi'an and takes at least an hour on the over-crowded roads to travel that distance.
The pits containing the Terracotta Warriors and horses were only discovered in 1974 and since then millions of visitors from around the world have, like me, stood in awe at the grandeur. Just a pity that many of the 'locals' are so pushy and totally inconsiderate of other visitors.
There are 3 pits and each is contained within its own building. Pit 1 and by far the largest is around 200 metres in length and about 80 wide – truly remarkable to stand and survey the scene! There are row upon row of warriors ready to defend the emperor in the after-life – and each face is different. As areas are excavated more warriors are unearthed. Many are shattered and require painstaking work to reassemble and have on permanent display – I heard someone quip, 'Judging by the plastic boxes, it looks like they came from Ikea.' No one knows how many still lay buried and the task of unearthing and resembling will take many decades.
The other 2 pits are smaller, yet each is different. Pit 2 contains an impressive display of fully restored warriors showing their costume. Luckily interpretive panels in English/Chinese assist visitors with knowledge. Sad to report that a number of local women 'insisted' on standing, peering and posing into camera lens so other visitors could not enjoy the spectacle. 'Selfies' should be banned!!!
A separate building contains the fully re-constructed 4 horse drawn chariots. I stood in awe at the spectacle until I was almost pushed over by a hoard of ill-mannered and inconsiderate Chinese people who show almost no respect for others who have also paid entry fees (in the same way many walked out of 3 performances we attended whilst the truly great actors were taking curtain calls).
Thanks to our tour guide who had to go through so much torment for us.
To come is a travelogue and additional photos – see http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/cd958/
Sadly the 'official' web site as shown below is in Chinese script only.
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
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.