Apart from the magnificent Great Wall, glorious Imperial Palace in Beijing and the exquisite Dunhuang Murals, there is another wonder in China that amazes the world — The Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC).
In March 1974, when a production team member of Xiyang Village, Lintong County, Shaanxi Province was digging a well, he stumbled upon the vault of the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qinshihuang, 1,500 meters east of the mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang. The discovery shocked the world. To date, three vaults have been found containing more than 8,000 chariots, horses and soldiers. The Vault One Museum has over 800 clay soldiers with an average height of 1.80 meters, looking powerful and lifelike, on display. Dozens of clay horses had also been discovered. It is estimated that about 6,000 pieces of soldiers and horses will be unearthed from the first vault. More than 1,000 pieces of clay soldiers and horses were also found in the second vault. Vault 3 contains a mixed group with different army units. The 8,000 soldiers can be divided into four categories according to the weapon they wielded, such as bows, arrows and crossbows. They were the guards of the mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang, China’s first emperor.
As a whole, the Terracotta Warriors create a magnificent and dignified atmosphere. The statues of generals are tall and strong, wearing armor. But the manner of the kneeling soldiers is the most complex. Judging from their face shapes, hairstyles and figures, one can guess the soldiers’ characters and regions of birth. With their ears perked up, some of the clay horses were depicted as neighing, while others are silent. Every piece of the sculptures is charming. Many people believed that Chinese ancient sculpture came into being in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-581) with the introduction of Buddhism from India. The Terracotta Warriors proved otherwise. The discovery demonstrates the high level of Chinese sculpting skills during the Qin Dynasty, becoming the link between the past and future of Chinese sculpture history.
Also, the Terracotta Warriors provides abundant tangible materials for research on military affairs, culture and economy of the Qin Dynasty.
evan Yaming ZHANG