Terracotta Army

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The Terracotta Army (simplified Chinese: 兵马俑; traditional Chinese: 兵馬俑; pinyin: bīngmǎ yǒng; literally "soldier and horse funerary statues") or the "Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses", is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China.

The figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (Chinese: 秦始皇陵; pinyin: Qín Shǐhuáng Ling).

The figures vary in height 1.83–1.95 metres (6.0–6.4 ft), according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.[1]

Contents

Background

The Terracotta Army was discovered in the spring of 1974 in the eastern suburbs of Xi'an, Shaanxi Province by a group of farmers who were digging a water well 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Mount Li.[2][3] The region around the mountain was riddled with underground springs and watercourses. In 195 B.C., Liu Bang himself — the first emperor of the dynasty that followed the Qin — had ordered that 'twenty households' should move to the site of the mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang, "shi huang" means the first emperor) to watch over the tomb. To this day, twenty villages sit in the immediate vicinity of the mausoleum, one of them the hamlet where the Yang family lived; the terracotta army may have been rediscovered by the direct descendants of the people left to guard it. For centuries, there were reports of pieces of terracotta figures and fragments of the Qin necropolis — roofing tiles, bricks, and chunks of masonry — having been occasionally dug up in the area.[4]

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