Friday, December 14, 2012

Terracotta Warriors: An Army for the Afterlife

Chinese workers digging a well in 1974 made a startling discovery: thousands of life-size terracotta figures of an army prepared for battle. Now called the Terracotta Army or Terracotta Warriors, the figures are located in three pits near the city of X'ian in China's Shaanxi province.


The pits are situated less than one mile to the northeast of a pyramid shaped mausoleum constructed for the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (259 B.C. – 210 B.C.).The three pits (a fourth pit was unfinished) contain an estimated 8,000 life-size terracotta figures of which about 2,000 have been excavated. The figures were created to serve the emperor in the afterlife and include a mix of chariots, cavalry, armored soldiers and archers. There are high ranking officers (including nine generals found so far) and one of the pits, No. 3, actually served as a command post for the army and contains an honor guard and ornate chariot for the force’s chief commander.

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