One of the main highlights of our trip to Xi’an was Terracotta warriors. One may hear of the Terra-Cotta Warriors, but seeing them is another thing. This is a place that is like a hidden treasure, even though it is written everywhere how great and stunning it is, when you are there in person the experience is overwhelming. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century.
The Terracotta Army or the “Terracotta Warriors and Horses(兵马俑 binmayong)” is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. This army is located in Lintong district, Xian, Shaanxi province, China.
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. The Terracotta Army was built on the emperor’s orders to guard the underground palace where he was buried, to protect him in the afterlife. Just as the palace mirrored the imperial capital, the warriors replicated the imperial guard.
These Life size terracotta warriors and horses are exhibited in a museum which is huge and is divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit respectively. They were tagged in the order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest and is the awesome one. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. No. 2 Pit It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It looked like to be the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.There are several covered “pits” where the warriors and horses are on display in their original placements. Beyond the actual artifacts, there is great shopping as part of the complex.
Discovery of Terracotta warriors:
A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty.
One of the farmer who discovered the terracotta warriors is still alive at 83(maybe); Our driver took us to the bookstore and introduced us to that man. We were lucky enough to meet the man behind this amazing discovery. You can buy the books which are autographed by him and you need to pay him a small fee if you want to take a picture with him. I still remember how our driver praised my linguistic skills while introducing me to this man. He was curious to know about my life that how I learned the language,culture and many things. He was quite impressed with us(may be) and didn’t charge anything for the picture.
This is an archeological treasure that is not to be missed. It is one of the most important discoveries of the twentieth century in China and, seeing it live is truly amazing.Don’t miss this if you plan a trip to China.