Xi'an - Terra Cotta Warriors

Click here for country map (Xi'an is in the middle eastern part of the country)

More info on warriors at bottom of page

 

Click on Pictures for a larger view

terracottamuseum.jpg (30056 bytes)
outside the terra cotta warrior pits 

History

warriorsPit1.jpg (53838 bytes)
pit #1
warriora.jpg (66406 bytes)
pit1warriors.jpg (44667 bytes)

warriorG.jpg (69102 bytes)

warriorsPit1b.jpg (63860 bytes)

warriorsfaces.jpg (128004 bytes)

pieces.jpg (43230 bytes)
pieces of the warriors in pit #3 - only one warrior was found whole
color.jpg (49000 bytes)
when the warriors were first dug up - they were painted with color.  within a few minutes the paint oxidized.  some warriors have been left buried as they try to develop new technology to save the paint color.
color2.jpg (32898 bytes)
these are pictures of pictures taken within the first few minutes of digging up these warriors
general2.jpg (32854 bytes)
a general.  ranks of the officers can be determined by their hair, hats, weapons, size (the larger the higher the rank) the size of their bellies (the bigger, the higher the rank) and their shoes (upturned toes = higher rank)
general.jpg (22253 bytes)
each has a unique face and body

sidebyside.jpg (72778 bytes)

depiction of painted warriors

generalshand.jpg (30408 bytes)

warriorC.jpg (67676 bytes)

horses.jpg (35848 bytes) horses2.jpg (30573 bytes) wholewarrior.jpg (33423 bytes) pieces2.jpg (45449 bytes) horsepieces.jpg (32027 bytes)
archaeologists.jpg (39164 bytes)
archaeologists doing the painstakingly detailed work of excavating soldiers
warrior.jpg (22703 bytes)

warriorD.jpg (62419 bytes)

warriorheads.jpg (47523 bytes)

warriorK.jpg (77876 bytes)

warriorpieces3.jpg (31492 bytes)

warriorJ.jpg (78789 bytes)

cindydeborahwarriors.jpg (47364 bytes)

warriorB.jpg (45322 bytes)

weaponwarrior.jpg (38787 bytes) weapons.jpg (28110 bytes)
weapons
weapons2.jpg (31922 bytes) 157-5772_IMG.jpg (29851 bytes)
stacks of corn drying after the harvest in the countryside outside of xi'an
beijingairport.jpg (51844 bytes)
a fruitstand at the beijing airport
cindywarriors.jpg (47254 bytes) deborahcindypit1.jpg (51734 bytes) deborahwarriors.jpg (44986 bytes) warriors.jpg (37735 bytes) warriors2.jpg (37372 bytes)
warriors4.jpg (47496 bytes) warriors3.jpg (41454 bytes) downtownxian.jpg (44908 bytes)
downtown xi'an with the colonel standing 
guard. . .
traffic.jpg (37521 bytes)
traffic
xianwall.jpg (37014 bytes)
city of wall of xi'an - reportedly the most complete wall in the country - 8 miles.  they are preparing to have a marathon on the wall in the next year or so.
xianwall2.jpg (48140 bytes) deborahcindywall.jpg (52776 bytes) jennycindywall.jpg (51900 bytes) cindydeborahwall.jpg (56778 bytes) buddhawildgoosepagoda.jpg (63236 bytes)
xianwall.jpg (31150 bytes) xianwallheadquarters.jpg (35502 bytes) cindyjennywall.jpg (54167 bytes)    
dscbjennywildgoosepagoda.jpg (55419 bytes)
wild goose pagoda
cindywildgoosepagoda.jpg (43231 bytes) gargoyleswildgoose.jpg (31348 bytes)
gargoyles
monkswildgoosepagoda.jpg (52214 bytes) incense.jpg (67544 bytes)
lighting incense
incensewildgoosepagoda.jpg (32889 bytes) jennywildgoosepagoda.jpg (57458 bytes)   jade.jpg (46811 bytes)
jade factory
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cindywarrior.jpg (48005 bytes) deborahwarrior.jpg (50329 bytes) teahouse.jpg (48562 bytes)
tea tasting
tea.jpg (58037 bytes)  
defachang.jpg (50869 bytes)
de fa chang restaurant dim sum feast
defachang4.jpg (43640 bytes) defachang2.jpg (45496 bytes) defachang.jpg (39452 bytes) defachang3.jpg (42007 bytes)
frogs.jpg (89274 bytes)
lunch
  lion2.jpg (35899 bytes) lion.jpg (32446 bytes)  

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The terra cotta warriors were accidentally discovered by Chinese peasants while digging a well. This discovery prompted archaeologists to proceed to ShanXi, China to investigate. No one knows why this site became buried and lost among memories in the clay and in the minds of China. What they found was the ancient burial-site of the first Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuangdi. These warriors were placed all around the burial tomb of Emperor Qin (who ruled circa 210 - 250 B.C). Before Qin, masters were buried with women, slaves, and soldiers. This tradition during China's feudal period vanished during the life of Qin. To substitute for the actual humans, Qin ordered a massive clay army to be produced for his protection. Qin wanted the afterlife to be the same as his life on earth. Qin produced a warlike culture in China, which brought him many enemies. During his lifetime there were three attempts to assassinate him, so he had to be protected in the afterlife.

The first site was excavated in 1974. Although much of the site had been looted soon after it was built, archaeologists discovered 6,000 pottery figures. This oblong shaped site is 689 feet long, 197 feet wide. The trenches that contain the soldiers are 14.8 to 21.3 feet deep. The actual bodies of the soldiers were formed out of terra cotta clay. Each soldier was baked in a kiln. The positioning of the soldiers in the oblong shape shows an actual battle formation of the troops. These warriors were dressed and ready for battle. They carried spears and various other combat weapons. Each warrior is wearing an army uniform which distinguishes the soldier's rank. The soldier's uniforms were painted either red or green. They also wore either brown or black armor. Different types of warriors include bowman, infantrymen, and among these soldiers are six chariots. Each soldier has a distinct facial expression. Even the horses found at this site have different poses. Both the hands and the heads of the soldiers are detachable. These pieces of the body were carefully crafted and painted separately. The purpose of this was to provide the soldier with individuality and uniqueness. This also shows the quality of Chinese art during this time. These soldiers were made to be naturalistic. The height of the normal soldiers ranges from 5 ft. 8 in. to 6 ft. 2.5 in. Those that rode the chariots were 6 ft. 2.5 in. The commanders were the tallest out of all the soldiers. They stood 6 ft. 5 in. Clearly height represented the importance of the officer.

The second excavation occurred in May of 1976. This pit contains 1,400 warriors with horses. It is 64,000 square feet in area. Pit number two differs greatly from the first pit. The battle formation was square. This pit contains sixty-four chariots. It has divided groups which include infantrymen, cavalrymen and even commanders to guide the troops. This display of soldiers gives insight into the work that went into the Chinese army. Long distance battles had to be fought by using many chariots. The facial expressions of the men in this pit are also very different from those men in the first pit.

The third pit was discovered in 1980. This pit is the smallest out of the three discovered. It contains only one chariot, six warriors, and a small amount of weapons. This room is thought to be a group of special commanders. A fourth pit was also discovered. This room is bare. This room is probably empty because the workers did not complete the warriors in time for Qin's death.

Archaeologists continue to excavate the burial site if Emperor Qin. His actual tomb has not been excavated. These warriors will continue to give insight into the history of both Chinese art and war tactics. They represent a microcosm of life during the Qin Dynasty (circa 210 - 250 B.C.). The dynasties following Qin would pattern their lives after this great dynasty of the Fist Emperor of China.
Sources:

Schellinger, Paule & Salkin Robert (ed.), International Dictionary of Historic Places: Asia & Oceania. (Volume 5, 1995). Filtroy Dearborn: Chicago & London.

Kelleher, Bradford. Treasure from the Bronze Age of China. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York, 1980.