If you think that Terracotta Army was just a team of warriors who defended their country, and that is what interesting about them, then you are wrong. There is something far more interesting and exciting about the history of the Terracotta army. The Terracotta warriors or Terracotta army are basically thousands of life-size clay models or sculptures of soldiers, horses, and chariots. These sculptures were basically built to accompany the tomb of China’s first emperor, “Qin Shihuang,” as an afterlife guard. Want to learn more about the incredible Terracotta army? Let’s explore everything interesting and exciting about the Terracotta warriors.
The discovery of these Terracotta Warriors was a treat for the archeologists because what they had discovered was the largest burial complex in the world. It was so exciting to explore each and everything about these warriors, like how they are made, why they are created, etc. This burial complex was founded by the farmers in March 1974 while they are digging a well in a field approx. 20 miles of Xi’an. They found 6000 life-size terracotta statues, and the site was soon recognized as the burial place of Emperor Qin Shihuang.
Subsequently, the archeologists uncovered 8000 terracotta soldiers, horses, and chariots, along with some offices, stables, storehouses, etc. They were categorized into different pits. One pit contained all the warriors, the second contained the cavalry and infantry units, and the third one contained the chariots and high-ranking officials. After lots of research about this burial complex, it is believed that almost 700,000 laborers had to work on this mausoleum.
The emperor and the owner of the Terracotta warriors, Qin Shi Huang, was considered a cruel monarch by many states as he was involved in killing many people. This is why Qin Shihuang had many enemies. One day he dreamed about his enemies taking revenge against him. This dream frightened Qin Shihuang. He thought that he is protected by the powerful army in his life, but what about the afterlife. This dream basically became the purpose of the construction of the Terracotta army.
Qin Shihuang discussed his frightening dream with his subordinates, and one minister advised him to be buried along with a team of soldiers. Qin Shihuang thought that it would be cruel to be buried with live soldiers, so another minister suggested using the earthenware soldiers. This idea clicked the Chinese emperor’s mind, and he hired a team of skillful craftsmen to make the pottery army which was later known as the Terracotta Army or Terracotta Warriors.
The discovery of the army of life-size terra cotta soldiers, horses, archers, and chariots is considered one of the most stupendous and mysterious discoveries of the historical world. These warriors were found stationed in a military formation near Ruler Qin’s tomb, and the purpose was to protect the sovereign in the afterlife. Most of these figures were also destroyed soon after the emperor’s death. It was revealed that to make the terracotta warriors, the terracotta was basically molded-in parts then fired, assembled, and painted. The hands of these warriors were identical. Basically, eight molds were used to shape their heads which manifested a high level of artistry and craftsmanship. Another exciting thing about these warriors was every terracotta soldier has unique surface and facial features.
The terracotta soldiers were also equipped with some extraordinary weapons, which were discovered by the archeologists during the excavation of the pits. Along with these remarkable terracotta warriors, the archeologists also found some 40,000 bronze weapons. These weapons included crossbows, battle axes, arrowheads as well as spears. The reason that these weapons remained well-preserved even after 2,000 years is because they were well-protective with chrome plating. This is a modern technique that was first used in Germany in 1937 and the United States in 1950. The use of this technique shows the sophistication of ancient Chinese metallurgy.
With distinctive facial features and extraordinary weapons, these terracotta soldiers also strike multiple poses. These remarkable sculptures show more variation than just being upright warriors – life-sized bronze chariots complete with kneeling soldiers holding bows and arrows. The Warriors, which were unearthed, are also displayed spectacularly in on-site cabinets because of their different expressions and amazing postures and poses.
There were basically four major pits at the burial complex of Qin Shihuang. The difference is the three pits were completed by the fourth one was not as the emperor died till then. It was revealed that the fourth pit was empty, unlike the three pits, which were filled with terracotta soldiers. The incomplete tomb complex also gave archeologists the idea that the terracotta warriors were meant to be more. The research about the tomb complex also gave the archeologists the idea that the emperor, Qin Shihuang, was obsessed with finding the elixir of life. Did you know he died from mercury poisoning? He consumed this poison himself as he thought the deadly metal could confer immortality.
The Terracotta warriors are not alone in the tomb complex of the emperor Qin Shihuang. In fact, they are accompanied by many Terracotta friends as well. This terracotta personnel in the emperor’s mausoleum included Terracotta acrobats, terracotta musicians, and topless, potbellied musclemen, etc. These terracotta figures were excavated from pits that surrounded the central grave of Qin Shihuang.
There is only one ancient reference was found about these Terracotta warriors. This only historical mention about the Qin’s terracotta army is found in imperial historian Sima Qian’s famous historical records Shiji (史记), named as the Records of the Grand Historian. This piece of precious information was written between 109 and 91 BC, which was almost 100 years after the death of Shihuang in the Han dynasty.
As the terracotta pieces resembled the body parts which were dug up, it was not a surprise that they were also worshipped. The locals of this large area covered by the burial complex used to serendipitously unearth the bits and pieces from the mausoleum for ages. After such findings, many Locals also spoke about it that how they were worshipped as gods. Not only this but they were also used as fragments in local buildings.
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