Friday 7 September 2018

Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army

Most of us have heard of the Terracotta Army and why it was created – to protect and accompany Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, in the afterlife. The Qin ruler's tomb was constructed between 246 and 209 BC, and an estimated 8,000 life-sized sculptures were placed in rows positioned according to rank. They are just like silent sentinels guarding their long deceased Ruler. Chariots and horses were also found with the soldiers. The outstanding feature of the Army is each soldier has a unique facial expression.

Who built the Terracotta Army? What materials did they use?

First things first…what is terracotta?

Terracotta is made from clay and refers to natural clay fired at a low temperature. Iron compounds in clay give terra cotta its "rusty mud" hue. When the clay is fired, the minerals are partially melted, resulting in a hardened but still porous material.

The well-equipped Terracotta Army was discovered on 29 March 1974 by farmers digging a well approximately 1.5 kilometres east of Emperor Qin's tomb mound at Mount Li (Lishan). Excavations conducted by archaeologists later found patches of colour on some statues, hinting at once brightly coloured ‘clothes’ on the otherwise grey statues.

Who built the Terracotta Army?

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of his mausoleum when he took the throne of the Qin State in 246 BC. However, most of the decisions were made by his officials as he was only 13.

Quick Facts about the Terracotta Army's Construction
Sponsor: Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty

Designer: Li Si, the prime minister of the Qin Dynasty

Supervisor: Zhang Han, Senior General of the Qin army

Numbers of workers: More than 700,000

The project was still underway 36 years after it began, shortened by Qin Shi Huang's sudden death.

The amount is unknown. 

The making of the Terracotta Army [An illustration]

1. Unearth the Hidden Origin of China's Terra-Cotta Warriors | National Geographic.
2. Terracotta Army: The greatest archaeological find of the 20th century - BBC News.
3. The incredible history of China's terracotta warriors [Ted-Ed].

Shared by Azni Zainal Abidin
Guest Blogger

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