One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of 20th century, the terracotta warriors and horses lay buried for more than 2,000 years until 1974 when farmers digging a well chanced upon a pit. It was an archaeological sensation.
The three pits occupy an area of 22,000 square meters, housing about 8,000 life-size pottery warriors and horses.
The army was assembled in lines and equipped with horses, chariots, and other weapons. The size of the clay models is the same as real people and chariots.
Pit one is the largest, 230 meters long, which contains the main army, estimated at 8,000 figures with 11 corridors, most of which are over 3 meters wide. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back. Pit two has cavalry and infantry units as well as war chariots and horses, and is thought to represent a military guard. Pit three is the command post, with high ranking officers and war chariot. Pit four is empty, suggesting that the full tomb army was not completed before the emperor’s death.
Each figure is unique, retaining a vivid expression. They vary in height, uniform and hairstyle in accordance with rank. The colored lacquer finish, individual facial features, and actual weapons and armor from battle were used in manufacturing these figures created a realistic appearance. During the excavation, in addition to the terracotta warriors and horses, archeologists discovered a variety of different weaponry including bronze swords, spears, crossbows, and arrows. Archaeologists also uncovered model charioteers and stable boys, numerous bronze birds, and lifelike images of court officials, musicians, a juggler and a wrestler.
Qin Shi Huang’s tomb appears to be a hermetically-sealed space the size of a football pitch. The tomb remains unopened possibly due to concerns over preservation of its artifacts. (Floro Mercene)