1974, Xi’an. Peasants who lived near the city dug a well. Instead of water, they found rows of ancient warriors made of terracotta. The find was reported to the authorities. So the terracotta army was found. Excavations are still ongoing, more than 500 statues, 18 chariots and 100 horses have been found. It is estimated that there are more than 8,000 of these warriors.
According to the creator’s plan, the clay warriors were to accompany him in the afterlife. After all, even the deceased emperor must have subjects. True, for these purposes, servants of the emperor were usually buried in mausoleums. Why was an exception made this time? There are many rumors and legends about the terracotta army. Let’s try to separate truth from fiction.
Whose soldiers are these?
The ancient Chinese had such a custom — together with the ruler to bury his servants and warriors. And here the tomb of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, was discovered. The tomb has not yet been opened, but the belonging of the burial has been established for sure. This is evidenced by the historian Sima Qian, who compiled a description of the Chinese emperors from Qin Shi Huang to Wu-di. He wrote that upon ascending the throne, Qin Shi Huang began to build a tomb for himself, in which it was planned to bury not living people, but terracotta figurines.
Terracotta Army: Creation Story
Over 700,000 people built the Terracotta Army over the course of 38 years. And they managed to build a magnificent army. Not a single repetitive face, each warrior has his own weapons, his own emotions. This army is striking in its splendor. The life-size warriors even retain the paints they were once painted with. It is assumed that real people posed for this. True, during the excavations, not all clay warriors found weapons. Perhaps some of the weapons were stolen by the peasants.
In addition to warriors, there are other sculptures here. In 2009 officials, actors and acrobats were found. There are also many animals and birds here. But most of all there are warriors, for which all the statues are called the terracotta army. Studies have shown that the figures are made of yellow clay taken from different provinces of China. Terracotta warriors were created in different parts of the country, then taken to a common necropolis.
According to some reports, weapons were also specially created for the clay army. All weapons found in the complex have never been used in combat. At the same time, all weapons are in excellent condition due to the chrome coating. At the same time, researchers at the University of Cambridge believe that we are not talking about ancient technologies. In their opinion, chromium particles fell on the blades of ancient swords quite by accident, and the safety of the tools is explained by the moderately alkaline environment of the local soil.
Why Shi Huangdi Terracotta Soldiers?
From childhood, Qin Shi Huang was obsessed with the idea of immortality. He sent large detachments to bring him the elixir that would give him eternal life. At that time, he himself was drinking tablets with mercury, which ruined him. But he believed that after death he would live in another world and built a whole complex for this. Thousands of warriors were supposed to guard the emperor and carry out his orders. Acrobats and actors were required to entertain Shi Huangdi. Sima Qian wrote that in the tomb itself there are many jewels so that the emperor would feel the same after death as he did during life.
The Terracotta Army is one of the most interesting monuments in China. Thanks to her, scientists learned a lot about the era of Qin Shi Huang: how people dressed, how they fought, how they armed themselves. It has not yet been fully excavated, but when the last figure is taken out of the ground, historians will be able to fully restore the cultural appearance of that time.