Xi'an Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, China

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Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

About 31 km away from Xi'an, is the place where the Qin Terra Cotta Warriors & Horses were found. Now it has been named "Museum of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terra Cotta Warriors & Horses".

In March 1974, farmers from Xianyang village accidentally discovered many broken pottery figures while digging a well 1.5 kilo-meters away to the east of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum.

After archaeological excavation and textual research, it was found that this was an oblong pit in which were buried terra cotta warriors and horses of the Qin Dynasty.

In 1976, after driling, another two pits were discovered respectively 20 meters and 25 meters to the north of the former one. They were numbered Pit 1,2 and 3 respectively in order of discovery, with a total area of 22780 square meters.

Pit No.1 is in oblong shape, covering an area of 14260 square meters. There are five sloping entrances on the eastern and western side of the pit respectively.

Down inside the tunnel, there are ten earth-rammed partition walls, across which huge and strong rafters were placed, covered with mats and fine soil and filling earth. The floors are paved with bricks.

The terracotta warriors and horses in Pit No.1 are arrayed in a practical battle formation. In the long corridor to the east end of the pit stand three rows of terracotta warriors in battle tunics and puttees, facing east, 70 in each row, totaling 210 altogether. Armed with bows and arrows, they constitute the vanguard.

There is one row of warriors in the south, north and west of the corridor respectively, facing outward. They are probably the flanks and the rear guard. Holding crossbows, arrows and other long-distance shooting weapons, they took up the job of defending the whole battle formation. The ten rammed partition walls divided Pit No.1 into eleven latitudinal passage ways where stand 38 columns of warriors with horse-drawn chariots in the center.

The warriors, amour-clad, holding long-shaft weapons, are probably the main body of the formation and represent the principal force. There are altogether 27 trial trenches. According to the density of the formation in each trial, it is assumed that more than 6,000 clay warriors and horses could be unearthed from Pit No.1 most of which are infantrymen.

Pit No.2 is located 20 meters to the north of the eastern end of Pit No.1. The pit is L-shaped and consists of four different mixed military forces in four arrays. It is estimated that there were over 1,000 pieces of pottery figures, 500 horse-drawn chariots and saddled horses. The pit is measured 6,000 square meters.

The first array, i,e, the eastern protruding part of the pit, is composed of 334 archers. To the south of the pit is the second array, including the first through the eighth passage ways, it is composed of 64 chariots, each of which carries three warriors. The third array, i.e the middle of the pit, including the ninth through the eleventh passage ways is composed of 19 chariots and 100 infantrymen. The fourth array to the north of the pit, including the 12th through the 14th passage ways is composed of six chariots, 124 saddled horses and cavalrymen.

The four arrays are closely connected to constitute a complete battle formation and can be divided up to act independently, capable of attacking and defending and of self-protection and quick response. Three of the four arrays in Pit No.2 have chariots and warriors.

The chariots took up most of battle formation. This proves that chariots and warriors were the principal fighting forces in the Qin Dynasty. The wooden chariots have become decayed with age , but the tongues and wheels left clear traces in the clay, The bronze parts of the chariots remained intact.

Pit No.3 is located 25 meters to the north of Pit No.1 and to the west of Pit No.2. The plane of the Pit is of concave shape totaling about 520 square meters. Out of the pit were unearthed one chariot, four terra-cotta horses and 68 clay armoured warriors. To it's east, there is a sloping entrance, 11.2 meters long, 3.7 meters wide, opposite which is a chariot and horse house. On both sides of the house, there is a winging room, in which were unearthed 64 pottery figurines.

The arrangement of the pottery figurines is quite different from that in Pits No.1 and No.2. Even the weapons held by the warriors in Pit No.3 are different from those in Pits No.1 and No.2. The latter were armed with long-range across bows and arrows and short weapons such as spears, barbed spears, swords and axes. In Pit No.3 only one kind of weapon called "shu" were discovered, which had no blades and are believed to be used by the guards of honor.

Unearthed also in this pit were deer-horn and animal bones. This is probably the place where sacrificial offerings and war prayers were practiced. Judging by the layout of Pit No.3, it is most likely the headquarters directing the mighty underground army.

The earliest appearance of pottery figurines in china happened in the Warring States Periods, but they were small in size and made roughly with low temperature.

The Qin terracotta warriors and horses were not only big in size, but made exquisitely with high technology and vivid images, revealing the character of old Chinese maddening art. So it attracts peoples all over the world, including leaders, artists, archaeologists and people who love Chinese art.

In order to protect the relics, the local protection bureau of historical relics has banned tourists going down to the pit and touching the Qin terra-cotta warriors. So these great masterpieces can be fairly well preserved, for appreciation of more people.

The news that the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses having been unearthed gained a great deal of response from all over the world. It also has aroused a warm discussion among artists, culture relic research workers, historians and archaeologists. A great many famous politicos, that are interested in the culture relics, have come to see the Warriors and Horses.

The first overseas politico coming to the area was Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister of Singapore. It was in May, 1976. The work of unearthing had not been finished. When seeing the Warriors and Horses, minister Lee said: "this is not only a wonder of the world, but also valuable national treasure. China has a long history and colorful culture, I am very proud of this!"

Through broadcast, the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses stirred the world like a waken dream, after thousands of years' sleeping.

On September 23rd 1978, Hillac, the Prime Minister of France went to the Museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, during its construction.

Standing in the No. 1 tunnel and facing the graceful underground array, he said: "Not having seen the pyramid, means you haven't really been to Egypt; not having seen the Warriors and Horses means you haven't really been to China... There're seven wonders in the world, and here is the 8th."

These words stirred the world again. "The 8th wonder of the world" almost became another name of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses.

After that, the area became a never-ignored place for the tourists from all over the world. When they come to China, the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses may be the most important scenic spot for them.