Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang
Enter into China, there are uncountable must-see historical sites, personally I ranked the Forbidden City in Beijing as the first place to go, The Great Wall Of China, followed by this one, the Terracotta Army of China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. It has been my dream to visit this wonderful place for decades, and now, finally I was here! Be here and stand in awe of this Eighth Wonder Of The World, get carry into the period some 2000 years ago……
Qin Shi Huang– The First Emperor of China
Qin Shi Huang (259–210 BC), was the King of a state in China called Qin (246–221 BC). In 221BC, he conquered all other warring states and united China for the first time in history. That’s why he was also known as Shi Huangdi, meaning the First Emperor of China.
During the reign of China’s first ever Emperor, his generals greatly expanded the size of the Chinese state and implemented many economic and political reforms to standardize the diverse practices of the earlier defeated states. Qin Shi Huang was credited for unifying the many state walls of the warring states into The Great Wall Of China, in what was today’s Seventh Wonder Of The World.
The Great Wall was built to protect China from the constant raid of the northern tribes. The building of the Great Wall Of China, however, leads to the death of millions of peasants, culminating with his policy of banning and burning books and merciless execution of scholars in fanning out resistance to his rule, it finally leads to the downfall of his vast dynasty. After his death his Qin dynasty was soon overthrown and China came under the rule of another dynasty, the Han dynasty.
Qin Shi Huang, meaning First Emperor in Chinese, died at the age of 50. He had intended to make his Qin dynasty last forever, ironically, it lasted just 15years, recording as one of the shortest dynasty period in China’s history.
A sad story it was, just when everyone thought that Qin Shi Huang only contributions to China and the world was the unification of China and the building of the Great Wall, on 29 March 1974, the Terracotta Army was discovered by local farmers when digging for a well in a village in Xian, the province of Shanxi. It was found just less than 2 km to the tomb of Qin Shi Huang. I was a 7 year old school boy then, reading a topic on Qin Shi Huang when news of the discovery shook the whole school and had everyone talking about it for days. Now everyone wants to find a place to dig for a well, and hopefully……
The Terracotta Army is a vast collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the mighty armies of Qin Shi Huang, which many believes was made and buried to protect the Emperor in his afterlife. A strong believer of life after death, Qin Shi Huang could be harbouring the thought of starting another dynasty in another world.
The Terracotta Army were life-size figures, all vary in height, appearance and expression, and non of them is similar to another. They are all placed in military battle formation. To date more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses had been discovered. Besides the military personals, there are figures on the commoners, such as musicians and acrobats. Mind you, the archeologists are still unearthing till today, so more findings and surprises has yet to come.
The attached 5 minute short video by National Geographic has a detail description of this great discovery.
The visit to the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang was a long journey of near 2 hours out of the capital, Xian– the capital of the Qin dynasty. All the tireness, however, was well forgotten and forgive the moment the guide announced the arrival. The atmosphere changes the moment everyone of us got the admission ticket from the guide. Curiousity and anticipation was utterly high even before we entered into the museum proper. Many had heard too much about the First Emperor of China, the time has finally come to witness his mighty invincible armies!
No visitors could wait to enter, everyone wants to get the first glimpse of the World History.
The exhibition looked gigantic and huge than what most had expected. There, right at our front stands the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang! Wow, what a sight it was, simply majestic, what a breathtaking sight to behold! How could someone had built such a awesome yet scary buried ground for himself !
Our knowledgeable and industrious guide never stops to do the explanation, but it seems that not many care about what it is all about, for we had heard too much about Qin Shi Huang and his Terracotta Army, everyone was too busy starring at the giant pit, trying to ‘unearth’ any treasure.
The best thing I liked about the exhibition was the figurines were said to have left almost at its original position, unlike those exhibits we had seen in other museum which were usually man-made scenery. Many of the artefacts were left unearth or half done for whatsoever reason.
To protect the artefacts, the lightings are all specially made, in some areas, light is not adequate for photography.
** Above picture is an extract from the book we bought in the souvenir shop. What a valuable shot! I’m sure this picture alone would make anyone plan a visit here.
One of the tour highlight was the close-up view of the figurines and chariots. The artefacts, however, was tightly protected in a glass tank. The small narrow hall was unusually congested at time of visit, making it so challenging to have proper photography.
The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang was separately unearth from 3 pits, all 3 pits are made available for public viewing. On average, each of the pit size measures about 200 metres in length and width. I found the 3 pits offer almost similar exhibitions though, they are all Terracotta Army, except that the pit is divided into 3 sections of cavalry, infantry and war chariot.
For the price of US$I9.00 per person, visitor are allowed to view all 3 pits, with no viewing time restrictions. We spent nearly 3 hours there, but learnt that most tour are there only for an hour or so, that is too short and too rush for such a great ancient treasure. Guiding are available with a small fee for those who wish to join, though we came with our own guide, the internal guide takes over the work thereafter. English speaking guides are there to help also.