Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
No doubt thousands of statues still remain to be unearthed at this archaeological site, which was not discovered until 1974. Qin (d. 210 B.C.), the first unifier of China, is buried, surrounded by the famous terracotta warriors, at the centre of a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of the capital, Xianyan. The small figures are all different; with their horses, chariots and weapons, they are masterpieces of realism and also of great historical interest.
Located at the northern foot of Lishan Mountain, 35 kilometers northeast of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, Qinshihuang Mausoleum is the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang, founder of the first unified empire in Chinese history during the 3rd century BCE. Begun in 246 BCE the grave mound survives to a height of 51.3 meters within a rectangular, double-walled enclosure oriented north-south. Nearly 200 accompanying pits containing thousands of life-size terra cotta soldiers, terra cotta horses and bronze chariots and weapons – a world-renowned discovery – together with burial tombs and architectural remains total over 600 sites within the property area of 56.25 square kilometers. According to the historian Sima Qian (c. 145-95 BCE), workers from every province of the Empire toiled unceasingly until the death of the Emperor in 210 in order to construct a subterranean city within a gigantic mound.
As the tomb of the first emperor who unified the country, it is the largest in Chinese history, with a unique standard and layout, and a large number of exquisite funeral objects. It testifies to the founding of the first unified empire- the Qin Dynasty, which during the 3rd BCE, wielded unprecedented political, military and economic power and advanced the social, cultural and artistic level of the empire.
Criterion (i): Because of their exceptional technical and artistic qualities, the terracotta warriors and horses, and the funerary carts in bronze are major works in the history of Chinese sculpture prior to the reign of the Han dynasty.
Criterion (iii): The army of statues bears unique testimony to the military organization in China at the time of the Warring Kingdoms (475-221 BCE) and that of the short-lived Empire of a Thousand Generations (221-210 BCE). The direct testimony of the objects found in situ (lances, swords, axes, halberds, bows, arrows, etc.) is evident. The documentary value of a group of hyper realistic sculptures where no detail has been neglected – from the uniforms of the warriors, their arms, to even the horses’ halters – is enormous. Furthermore, the information to be gleaned from the statues concerning the craft and techniques of potters and bronze-workers is immeasurable.
Criterion (iv): The mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang is the largest preserved site in China. It is a unique architectural ensemble whose layout echoes the urban plan of the capital, Xianyang, with the imperial palace enclosed by the walls of the city, themselves encircled by other walls. This capital of the Qin (to which succeeded on the present site of Xian the capitals of the Han, Sui and Tang dynasties) is a microcosm of the Zhongguo (Middle Country) that Qin Shi Huang wanted both to unify (he imposed throughout the land a single system of writing, money, weights and measures) and to protect from the barbarians that could arrive from any direction (the army which watches over the dead emperor faces outward from the tomb).
Criterion (vi): The mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang is associated with an event of universal significance: the first unification of the Chinese territory by a centralized state created by an absolute monarch in 221 BCE.
Xi’an is a city in Shaanxi Province in China. The oldest surviving capital of ancient China, Xi’an is home to thousands of years of Chinese heritage and history. Xi’an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang’an in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi’an is the undisputed root of Chinese civilization having served as the capital city for the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties. With so much history within the ground the city lies upon, it is no wonder that there are so many historical ruins, museums and cultural relics to be found here. It was already influencing the world outside of the Great Wall of China as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. Here traders from far and wide brought goods and ideas for sale and took goods and… [read more].
Xianyang is a prefecture-level city in central Shaanxi province, situated on the Wei River a few kilometers upstream (west) from the provincial capital of Xi’an. Once the capital of the Qin dynasty, it is now integrated into the Xi’an metropolitan area, one of the main urban agglomerations in inland China, with more than 7.17 million inhabitants, its built-up area made of 2 urban districts (Qindu and Weicheng) was 945,420 inhabitants at the 2010 census. It has a total area of 10,213 square kilometres (3,943 sq mi). Xianyang was among the capital city’s environs during the Western Zhou dynasty, and was made the capital of the state of Qin in 350 BC during the Warring States period before becoming the capital of China during the short-lived Qin dynasty. Because the city lay south of the Jiuzong Mountains and north of the Wei River – both sunlight-rich (yang) orientations – it was named… [read more].
Baoji is a prefecture-level city in western Shaanxi province, People’s Republic of China. Since the early 1990s, Baoji has been the second largest city in Shaanxi. The prefecture-level city of Baoji has a population of 3,716,731 according to the 2010 Chinese census, inhabiting an area of 18,172 km2 (7,016 sq mi). The built-up area made of 3 urban districts had a population of approximately 1,437,802 inhabitants as of the 2010 census. Surrounded on three sides by hills, Baoji is in a valley opening out to the east. Its location is strategic, controlling a pass on the Qin Mountains between the Wei River valley and the Jialing River. Passing through Baoji is the ancient Northern Silk Road, the northernmost route of about 2,600 kilometres (1,616 miles) in length, which connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi’an to the West over the Wushao Ling Mountain to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia [read more].