In 1974, one of the most exciting discoveries in the history of archaeology was made outside of Xi’an in the Shaanxi Province of China. Two local farmers digging a well stumbled across a terracotta statue, leading Chinese archaeologists to investigate further. The resulting find stunned the world—an terracotta army eventually found to consist of more than 8,000 soldiers in addition to chariots and horses, also of terracotta. The army was created and buried in the late 3rd century BCE as a monument to the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, whose tomb is buried nearby.
Today, visitors to the site can see many of the soldiers restored in situ, all covered and protected by a quonset hut type of structure. Other portions of the site are displayed in a series of buildings and exhibits. The entire tomb complex, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987 as the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, receives millions of visitors each year. (The 2015 photo above by Jmhullot is shared here under CC BY-SA 3.0).
For those who cannot make the trek to China, perhaps a trip to Philadelphia instead. The Franklin Institute of Art is sponsoring an exhibit of 10 soldiers and related artifacts this fall, the first time in Philadelphia in 30 years. The exhibit will fun from September 30, 2017 through March 4, 2018.
China’s Terracotta Warriors Returning To Philadelphia
By Mikek DeNardo
August 3, 2017