Terracotta army is difficult to call a tourist attraction. Usually, the landmark is a stationary object, and the Terracotta Army represents almost 9,000 clay figures of warriors, horses and chariots that were made around 220 BC before the tomb of the first emperor of the united China .
Qin Shihuandi conquered the entire territory of the country and created the Qin empire. He planned to do something similar after his death. All this clay army was created to serve him in the afterlife.
Qin Shihuandi - the most famous Chinese emperor in the history of the country. It is famous for three outstanding monuments - the Grand Canal, the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army. On this page we will tell you about what it is so remarkable, and where you can see this man-made miracle.
Background and purpose
In ancient China before the 5th century BC. there were beliefs about the afterlife and the belief that objects buried with the deceased can be used by him in the world of the dead. This principle also applies to people.
That is, if the ruler died, then they sent a retinue together with him to the afterlife. Usually, about 100 people - wives and concubines, a platoon of personal protection, close personalities, artisans and builders.
The beliefs of the ancient Chinese were so strong that most went to this step without any resistance, archaeologists often do not find traces of the struggle among the remains. Some were against, especially artisans and builders, but they were not asked.
In the 5th century BC. the country entered a new period of its history. This era of "belligerent kingdoms" lasted almost 250 years. All this time, 7 states fought each other without a break. The population of China in these 250 years has decreased several times.
Sending along with the ruler retinue into the world of the dead has become an inadmissible luxury. Experienced soldiers, skillful artisans and talented managers were more needed in this world. Yes, and the rulers changed now faster, all the "after-death escort" just was not enough.
By the time of the reign of Emperor Qin Shihuandi and unification of China, this bloody tradition has almost ceased to exist. But. Beliefs in the afterlife have not gone anywhere. Qin Shihuandi wanted to be the supreme ruler in the next world of his stay. He ordered an army of clay soldiers for himself.
The tomb of the emperor was lost for 2,000 years. It is difficult to say how you can lose a funeral complex with a diameter of 6.5 kilometers, but in China, and this is possible. Even as a tourist you will see a lot of amazing things in China , and many things even shock you .
In 1974, the peasants dug a well and accidentally discovered clay artifacts. They called scientists, and excavations began.
It can not be said that historians knew nothing about the tomb. It was well described in the written sources of subsequent periods, especially the ancient historian Sima Qian. It was obvious that the funeral complex is somewhere near the city of Xian, which was the capital of the Qin Empire. That's just the exact location of her no one knew.
Not far from the place of the failed well, the tomb of Qin Shihuandi was later found. This is the largest archaeological discovery in the history of China, and on a global scale it is placed on a par with the discovery in Egypt in the Valley of Kings of the famous tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun .
During the excavations there were events that historians and archaeologists call a tragedy. After the assembly, each soldier was covered with a layer of special lacquer and brightly colored. On some of them the paint was preserved due to humidity in the soil. Once the statues touched dry air, the paint evaporated for a few minutes. It's unfortunate, but at the present moment not a single fully painted figure is left.
How many whole terracotta soldiers?
In the funeral complex, it was found only 150 horses for cavalry, 130 chariots and 520 horses harnessed for them, and 8,000 to 8,200 foot soldiers.
Most of all the questions are caused by the spread of the number of infantrymen. Many people ask: "Can not they really be counted?" Of course, it can be counted, and archaeologists have done this for a long time. The figure depends on the calculation technique. Not all the figures have been preserved completely, and it is unclear how to count the damaged statues. For example, if a figure does not have a head, can it be considered complete or not?
If the crippled statues are not taken into account, then a little more than 8000 is obtained. The more soldiers are recognized as "fit for combat service," the greater the figure.
What are these clay soldiers interesting about?
They are all made in full size. Agree, blind, burn and collect nearly 9,000 such clay statues - this is a titanic work. Each of them has individual facial features, and among them there are no two identical features. This fact is proved by processing photos using special computer programs.
This is a real army. Among them there are ordinary soldiers, officers and generals. Soldiers are divided into military specialties - crossbowmen, spearmen or charioteers. In addition to soldiers, figurines of scribes were found, therefore, the emperor wanted to have with him in the afterlife another bureaucratic apparatus.
In one of the pits were found figures of musicians, athletes, acrobats and animals. That is, Qin Shihuandi also wanted to watch circus performances in the next world, and did not want to refuse music. It would be logical to still find there a "terracotta harem", so to speak, for complete happiness, but so far no such archaeologists have found. Let's see, time will tell. By the way, we'll come back to the topic of the harem.
Each figure of a man weighs more than 100 kilograms, the weight of a clay statue of a horse is more than 200 kilograms. The manufacturing technology shakes when the piece was created in parts. The legs, the torso, the hands and the head were sculpted separately, and then all this was assembled into a single whole. Agree, it was easier for both production and transportation.
A special stamp was put on each part, which showed which workshop it had made. If there was a marriage, it was immediately clear who is to blame, and whom to punish. Given the nature of the emperor Qin Shihuandi, most likely, the first defective part was for the master and the last.
You can see all this with your own eyes if you visit this funeral complex in Xi'an.
Weapons of terracotta soldiers
Although the soldiers were clay, but the weapons gave them the real thing. Unfortunately, the weapons remained fairly small. First, the funeral complex was plundered several times. Secondly, the metal remains much worse than ceramics, and many items are completely rotten.
But even a small amount of weapons gave scientists many reasons for surprise. For example, arrowheads produced in different parts of China had almost the same size. That is, already in the 3rd century BC. the Chinese introduced unification in the production of weapons. It's amazing.
Thanks to the Terracotta Army, we now very well imagine how the soldiers of that time were equipped, what weapons they fought, how they were built on the battlefield and what tactics they followed.
Where to see the Terracotta Army
Almost all the soldiers are located where they were dug up by archaeologists. The archaeological site is located 10 kilometers from the city of Xi'an. This is a fairly large city with a population of 8.5 million people. You can fly to Russia from Russia directly , but only from Moscow. Tourists who choose Xi'an as the main object of travel, are few enough, although the city has a lot of attractions.
If you want, you can get here from Beijing by high-speed train . The distance of 1200 kilometers you will cover in 6 hours. Some even try to look at the Terracotta Army "one day", that is, to arrive on the morning "speedometer" and leave in the evening.
We do not recommend this method. The first high-speed train (pictured left) arrives from Beijing to Xi'an Station at 13-00, and the latter leaves here at 6:00 pm. You will have only 5 hours, and this is enough only to look at the Terracotta Army "with one eye."
In addition, it is an expensive way of traveling, since a one-way ticket costs 500 Chinese yuan (at the time of writing, May 2015). In both directions, about 1,000 yuan per person is obtained.
Tickets for an ordinary train in a compartment are twice cheaper, but you will spend 14 hours on the train in one direction, totaling 28 hours. Such a loss of time for many tourists is unacceptable.
There is the most budgetary way - it is to buy seats in a conventional train. If you are not afraid to spend 14 hours in an uncomfortable chair, then such a ticket will cost you only 150 yuan one way.
We believe that it is worth to fly to Xian as the main purpose of travel. The city is beautiful, you will not regret it. And look at the Terracotta army without hurrying, and the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuandi will see the Great Pagoda of wild geese and many other interesting things.
If you do not want to go to Xian, but really want to see the Terracotta Army, then there is a compromise solution. These clay soldiers can be seen in the museums of the country. On a permanent basis, they are exhibited at the National Museum in Beijing in Tiananmen Square .
In other museums they exhibit occasionally. The exposition travels around the country as a circus tent. Then it will appear in the Shanghai Museum , then in the Hubei Museum , or somewhere else. If you want, you can try to "catch" this exhibition.
Of course, an exhibition of 20 figures in Beijing and 8,000 soldiers in Xi'an are incomparable impressions.
Bloody tall tales about the Terracotta Army
The most stupid fiction about the Terracotta Army was widespread even in the times of the USSR, when rumors were circulating that inside the statues were dead living people. At the end of the existence of the USSR there was a period when stories about Yeti, Lokhnevsky monster and so on were very popular. And people believed in these nonsense. Now Russians remember this time with a smile.
The next fiction meets on the Internet to this day. Some sources write that along with the emperor several tens of thousands of workers were killed.
This is not true. Of course, the bones of the poor fellows who built the tomb, found a lot, but this does not mean that they were massacred. The tomb was built for many years, and people died at the construction site for quite natural reasons. They buried them in the same place, hence the abundance of remains.
Another bike tells us that the tomb was looted and, we quote, "real weapons were replaced with bronze and tin." It is difficult to say where such nonsense come from. First, at that time, China had just entered the Iron Age, and most of the weapons used were of bronze. Secondly, where did you see thieves changing something? They usually just take what they need.
The funeral complex was indeed robbed and most of the weapons were taken away. All the wooden structures were burned, which is confirmed by archaeological finds.
And at the end of the article, we return to the topic of the harem. Some sources write that 48, 49, 50 or 100 of his concubines were buried with the emperor. The figures are different everywhere. This fact can not be confirmed or denied. Numerous burials have been found on the territory of the complex, but many have not been identified. Perhaps, if the very tomb of Qin Shihuandi is discovered, then we will know the answer. But, as the Chinese authorities say, this step is not yet planned.
Good luck visiting the city of Xian and the Terracotta Army, and see our other reviews about China ( links below ).