Xian Terracotta Warriors – Not Just Another Chinese Marvel Thousands of Years Old
The Terracotta Army, was discovered in 1974, close to the Xi’an, Shaanxi province. These ancient warriors were discovered by local farmers who were drilling a water well to the East of Mount Lishan. The farmers uncovered the imperial burial ground for the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huangdi. Qin Shi Huangdi ordered that eight thousand and ninety-nine (give or take) Terracotta Warriors be constructed for his burial ground. These warriors were built to celebrate the Emperor’s rule long after his life had ended. Since the time that the Terracotta Warriors were discovered, they are often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the world.
Qin Shi Huangdi
Qin Shi Huangdi has been regarded as one of China’s most ruthless rulers. However, he was not only the First Emperor of China, but he is also given credit for unifying the Chinese Empire for the first time in the country’s extensive history. In his commemoration, over eight thousand realistic and life-size Terracotta Warriors were built for his burial grounds. These imperial burial grounds are found at an underground location near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. The construction of the Terracotta Warriors, or Terracotta Army, began in the year of 246 B.C.E.
The Terracotta Warriors took a total of thirty-eight years to be built by seven lakh workers (many) and master craftsmen. The First Emperor had his imperial burial grounds adorned with large treasures and ordered the ceiling to be adorned with gems and pearls, which gives it the look of the night sky highlighted with heavenly bodies. Much is still unknown as the majority of the site is still to be excavated
According to the works of the renowned historian Sima Qian, the imperial burial grounds were also termed as a necropolis. This necropolis was built with the intention of continuing the Empire and the eternal rule of Qin Shi Huangdi. Terracotta structures within wooden enclosures were made as a representation of the of the entire Empire’s infrastructure. For example, the necropolis has an underground setting, which represents the infrastructural luxuries of the palace.
The Terracotta Warriors and army can be seen as representations of the First Emperor’s ability to command and execute orders, even in the afterlife. The warriors can also be seen as representation of a security system that was meant to protect the halls and other structures that are within the underground imperial burial grounds.
The discovery of the Terracotta Warriors has been one of the most phenomenal archaeological finds of present day. These warriors have become an Icon of China’s long and impressive history and they are recognized the world over. Annually, there are over two million people who visit the site of the imperial burial grounds and the Terracotta Warriors.
1. Try to time your visit so that you are not going on a Chinese National Holiday such Spring festival, May and Oct 1st. These dates are extremely busy at the Terracotta Warriors
2. Check prices in advance, generally they are reduced over winter
3. If you taking a tour, check in advance that you will not be taken to any tourist traps or factories that you have no desire to see
4. If you are interested in going to the souvenir shops, sharpen those bargaining skills
5. Show respect at the site.