AS someone who has never set foot in China, visiting Xian was a memorable experience and I wouldn’t mind going back for a holiday in the future. Dubbed one of the oldest cities in China, Xian is…
On a bucket list trip to see the Terracotta Warriors, Tim Warrington is overwhelmed by the ancient army.
The Terracotta Army, part of a mausoleum, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site 1,000Km southwest of Beijing. More than 8,000 terracotta sculptures depict armies of Qim Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China which were buried with the emperor and intended to protect him in his afterlife.
When archaeologist Zhao Kangmin picked up the phone in April 1974, all he was told was that a group of farmers digging a well nearby had found some relics.
Desperate for water amid a drought, the farmers had been digging about a metre down when they struck hard red earth. Underneath, they had found life-size pottery heads and several bronze arrowheads.
It could be an important find, Zhao’s boss said, so he should go and have a look as soon as possible.
A local farmer-turned-museum curator in China’s central Shaanxi province, Zhao – who died on 16 May at the age of 81 – had an inkling of what he might find. He knew figures had in the past been dug out of the earth in the area near the city of Xian, home to orchards of persimmon and pomegranate trees, and not far from the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.
A decade earlier, he had personally uncovered three kneeling crossbowmen.
Read more from source: The man who ‘discovered’ China’s terracotta army
Each of China’s famed terra-cotta warriors is unique and features a realistic human face, likely based on some living person of the time.
The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is home to one of history’s greatest armies—though it’s one built entirely of clay. The massive host of terra-cotta warriors charged with guarding the emperor’s tomb for eternity was discovered in 1974, when farmers near the city of Xi’an, China, dug a well and found a clay head—the first of perhaps 7,000 unique figures. (No one knows for certain because excavations of the pits are still ongoing.)
Qin Shihuangdi, who died in 210 B.C., was the first ruler to unite China. After his conquests he also tied the empire with an extensive road network, standard currency and weights and measures, a single written script, and even a more consistent legal code.
Qin’s great accomplishments included his resting place, a 49-square-kilometer complex designed to mirror the plan of his capital, Xianyang, and guarded by one of the most incredible armies ever assembled.
Read more from source: One of History’s Greatest Armies is Built Entirely of Clay
Zhao Kangmin, an archaeologist who pieced together pottery fragments discovered by farmers and reconstructed the life-size terra-cotta warriors that have become one of China’s best-known ancient wonders, died on May 16. He was 81.
The state news media reported the death. His granddaughter, who declined to give her name, confirmed the death on Tuesday, saying the cause was a pulmonary infection.
The thousands of warriors were made more than 2,000 years ago and buried at the vast underground tomb complex of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, along with models of horses, weapons, chariots and other objects.
Qin Shi Huang had united much of the country under the short-lived Qin dynasty, which is generally considered the origin of the name “China.” The warriors’ job was to defend him in the afterlife.
Several thousand of the terra-cotta warriors are now on display in giant pits — the largest the size of an aircraft hangar — at the partly excavated tomb complex, which lies at the site of the Qin dynasty’s ancient capital, Xianyang, about 22 miles east of present-day Xi’an. Many others remain buried around the complex.
The Chinese archaeologist credited with discovering the emblematic ancient Terracotta Warriors, Zhao Kangmin, has died aged 82, state media said.
Zhao was the first archaeologist to identify fragments of terracotta found by local farmers digging a well in 1974 as relics dating back to the Qin dynasty and the first to excavate the site.
The 8,000-man clay army, crafted around 250 BC for the tomb of China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang, is a UNESCO world heritage site, a major tourist draw and a symbol of ancient Chinese artistic and military sophistication.
Zhao’s death on May 16 was reported by the state-run People’s Daily late Friday.
When the farmers first stumbled upon the tomb in Xian, capital of the northern province of Shaanxi, they alerted Zhao — then a curator at a local museum — to their discovery.
“I went to the site with another officer… Because we were so excited, we rode on our bicycles so fast it felt as if we were flying,” the archaeologist wrote in an article published in 2014 on the website of the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses.
Read more from source: Chinese Terracotta Warriors archaeologist dies aged 82
April 18 this year marks the 36th World Heritage Day, or International Day for Monuments and Sites.
Initiated in 1982, this commemorative day aims to promote public awareness of the diversity and the non-renewability of the cultural heritage of humankind, thus arousing people’s enthusiasm to protect and conserve our common heritage.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 mysterious historical sites around the world that are testaments to mankind’s wisdom and creativity.
The Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army excavated from Emperor Qin’s mausoleum is a marvel of the world with its three pits taking up an area as large as about 20,000 square meters. In 1987, the Terracotta Army joined the UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Apart from the terracotta warriors, nearly 8,000 horses, more than 100 chariots and over 40,000 bronze weapons were unearthed, which are an epitome of the organization and weaponry, as well as the tactics of the Qin army.
Judging from archeological explorations, the Terracotta Army symbolizes the Emperor’s garrison when he was alive to guard his mausoleum and the three pits are organized according to military tactics.
The theft of a thumb of an ancient Terracotta Warrior statue on display in the US incited a wave of criticism on Chinese social media Tuesday, following Chinas calls to severely punish the thief.
Michael Rohana, 24, has been arrested over the theft during an after hours “ugly sweater party” just before Christmas at the Franklin Institute in Pennsylvania where 10 of the figures are on display.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by an FBI agent, Rohana snuck into the closed exhibit and snapped a selfie with the warrior, worth $4.5 million.
Rohana then appeared to break off the statue’s left thumb and pocket it before leaving the event with friends.
The museum noticed its disappearance weeks later on January 8. The FBI agent tracked Rohana back to his home in Bear, Delaware, where the young man admitted to having stashed the thumb in a desk drawer.
He was arrested for theft of a major artwork from a museum, concealment of a major stolen artwork, and the interstate transportation of stolen property, but released on a $15,000 bail, according to court documents seen by AFP.
With only 2 weeks to go until our blockbuster exhibition China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors opens, we thought we’d run you through the top 10 most interesting facts about the warriors and the First Emperor’s burial pit!
They were discovered completely by accident
The Terracotta Army was discovered on 29 March 1974 when farmer Yang Zhifa uncovered fragments of pottery when digging a well. This pottery led to the discovery of the first warrior of the famous Terracotta Army. Quite the find!
There were no historical records of them existing
The discovery of the Terracotta Warriors was a complete surprise to everyone because there are no historical records of them, or of an underground army. They had sat untouched underground for more than 2,200 years. This only adds to the mystery, as it is now the largest and most important tomb site in China.
The scale of the discovery is immense
Since the discovery of the Terracotta Army, more than 2,000 warriors and horses have been excavated from three different burial pits with an estimated 6,000 still buried underground.