The Terracotta Warriors are an army of clay sculptures for China’s first emperor. The sculptures were made in 210 BC. Over 8,000 terracotta soldiers and 600 horses have been found.
The purpose of the terracotta warriors was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. The sculptures were discovered in 1974 by Chinese farmers in Shaanxi province.
Photo: The terracotta warrior army of China (Creative Commons: Drkangeltex).
Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di
Ying Zheng became the first emperor of China in 246 BC. He was only 13 years old at the time. Soon after taking the throne, the emperor ordered the construction of the Terracotta Warriors.
The emperor accomplished many things during his rule. These accomplishments included standardizing weights, measures, language and coins. He also began construction of the Great Wall of China.
His greatest success was the unification of China under the Qin dynasty. This occurred during China’s Warring States period. Ying Zheng took on the name of Qin Shi Huang Di (the First Emperor of the Qin) after unifying China. He also built a transportation system consisting of canals and roads to connect the unified territories.
Construction of the Warriors
Over 700,000 laborers worked on the project top build this army. The life-sized Terracotta Warriors range in height from 173 cm to 188 cm. The soldiers are constructed of kiln-fired terracotta clay. Each was painted although the colors have since faded or peeled off.
Each soldier was armed with actual weapons. This included swords, crossbows and spears. These weapons were made by craftsmen in small workshops throughout China.
A mausoleum was constructed near the warriors. The mausoleum represented the emperor’s imperial palace. It consists of offices, halls and stables.
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Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army, About.
Secrets of Chinese Terra-Cotta Warrior Weapons Revealed, Live Science.
Terra-Cotta Army Protects First Emperor’s Tomb, National Geographic.