The Terracotta Army is one of the top attractions in China, because of its historical significance and uniqueness. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed lifesize models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China.
The Terracotta Army Museum lies 2 km east of The Tomb of Qin Shihuang, known as the First Emperor, who unified China 2,200 years ago. Emperor Qin, from whom China gets its name, ordered the creation of this model army.
Why Were the Terracotta Warriors Made?
The army of terracotta statues was made to be buried with First Emperor Qin Shihuang:as a show of his glory,to remember the army that triumphed over the other Warring States to unite China, and because it was believed that objects like statues can be animated in the afterlife, and because Qin Shihuang required an after-death army.
Athough the Terracotta Army have not been animated, they serve their first two purposes very well, standing on show, defying time, a majestic reminder of Emperor Qin’s military success, and the wars of long ago.
Terracotta Army Facts
The Terracotta Army was discovered in March 1974 by a farmer. The Terracotta Army was found near the tomb of Emperor Qin Shihuang, which took 38 years and 720 thousand builders to complete. The Terracotta Army was buried for 2,200 years. So far, 1,868 terracotta warriors and chariots have been unearthed. more Terracotta Army Facts
- Attraction name: The Qin Tomb and Terracotta Warrior and Horses
- Chinese: 秦陵兵马俑 Qínlíng Bīngmǎyǒng /chin-ling bing-mah-yong/
- Location: The Terracotta Army Museum is about 30 kilometers east of Xi’an in Lintong District.
- Opening Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm
- Ticket Price: 90 yuan (March 1–November 30); 65 yuan (December 1–February 28)
- Transport from Xi’an: Bus 915, 914 or 306, or about 120 yuan by taxi.
The Terracotta Army figures’ excavation is regarded as one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. It had lain underground for more than 2000 years before farmers digging a well in 1974 uncovered what is now considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world.
The first part of the Terracotta Army site to be discovered was named Vault One. In 1976, two other vaults were uncovered 20-25 meters away, and were named Vault Two and Vault Three.
The tomb is a treasury for the Chinese people and for the whole world. In December 1987, UNESCO selected the Tomb of the First Emperor (including the Terracotta Army Vaults) as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Thousands of life-size, vivid terracotta warriors in battle formation were revealed in the course of excavation of the earth and timber vaults – a whole army which would accompany its emperor into immortality. The sight transports you back to the ancient warring states period.
The horsemen, the longbow bearers, the archers, and the senior officers and generals were positioned in a grand ancient army formation, in strict accordance with the ancient directives on the Art of War.
Every figure differs in facial features and expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures, providing abundant and detailed artifacts for the study of the military, cultural, and economic history of that period.
Many of the figures originally held real weapons of the time, such as bronze swords, longbows, arrows, spears, dagger-axes, and other long-shafted weapons. The weapons were treated to make them resistant to rust and corrosion, so that even after being buried for over 2,000 years they were still sharp.
Vaults inside the Museum and Exhibition of Bronze Chariots
The museum mainly consists of three vaults and an exhibition hall: Vault One, Vault Two, Vault Three , and The Exhibition Hall of the Bronze Chariots.
There are three exhibition vaults. Vault One is 210 meters long, 62 meters wide and 4.5 to 6.5 meters high. The exhibits are terracotta chariots and warriors. Vault Two is 96 meters long, 84 meters wide and 5 meters high. The exhibits are crossbowmen, cavalry, infantry and chariots. Pit 3 is 21.4 meters long, 17.6 meters wide and 5.3 meters high. It is the headquarters of the army.