🇨🇳 7 Things You May Not Know About The Terracotta Army
Following the arrival of The Terracotta Army at The World Museum in Liverpool earlier this month (the first UK exhibition outside of London in 30 years!), we thought we would arm you with some interesting facts if you’re planning to join us for a once-in-a-lifetime break to see the ancient artifacts.
- It was discovered by chance
In March 1974, farmers near the Chinese city of Xi’an were digging a well close to the site of Emperor first Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang’s tomb. Reports began to surface of pieces of terracotta figures and fragments of the Qin necropolis – roofing tiles, bricks and chunks of masonry – being found. This prompted Chinese archaeologists to investigate, revealing the largest pottery figurine group ever found in China.
2. It’s over 2,200 years old
The Emperor, founder of the Qin dynasty, ruled a unified China as its first emperor from 221 to 207 BC. During his reign, he constructed a massive mausoleum complex near Xi’an which was guarded by an army of more than 6,000 life-size terracotta soldiers. The emperor wanted the same military power in his afterlife as he had in his earthly lifetime.
3. It took 40 years to complete
Around 700,000 artisans and labourers worked on the Terracotta Army over what is thought to have been a 40-year period.
4. No two figures are alike
Each and every solider in the Terracotta Army is unique. Distinct facial features were added on with clay after the basic structures had been assembled.
5. It’s regarded as The Eighth Wonder of the World
In September 1987, the Terracotta Army was praised as the Eighth Wonder of the World by the former French President Jacques Chirac.
He said: “There were Seven Wonders in the world, and the discovery of the Terracotta Army, we may say, is the eighth miracle of the world. No one who has not seen the pyramids can claim to have visited Egypt, and now I’d say that no one who has not seen these terracotta figures can claim to have visited China.”
6. It’s not just soldiers
Since the discovery of the Terracotta Army, more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 670 horses have been unearthed. Terracotta musicians, acrobats, and concubines have also been found in recent pits as well as some birds, such as waterfowl, cranes, and ducks.
7. There may be more to find!
There are four pits in total and so far, only three have been excavated. Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum covers nearly 56 square kilometres, and most of it remains unearthed, so it’s likely that during the ongoing excavations, more terracotta figures will be discovered.
A selection of the Terracotta Army is now being exhibited at Liverpool’s World Museum until October 2018. It is the first time in three decades that the figures have been exhibited in the UK outside of London, and you can join us for a 2 or 4 day break to see them in all their glory!