Terracotta warriors on the move—Philadelphia, PA and Richmond, VA

November 16, 2017


"arms and armor, horse and chariot fittings, ritual bronze vessels, works in gold and silver, jade ornaments, precious jewelry, and ceramics" - VMFA Exhibit


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, the Terracotta army may be coming to your way, if you live on the east coast of the United States. The Franklin Institute 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.


Another group of warriors, together with a cavalry horse and more than 120 artifacts, are the subject of another exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibit “Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China” opens November 18 at the VMFA in Richmond, Virginia; the exhibit will run through March 11, 2018.



"Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China"

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Richmond, Virginia

November 17, 2017 - March 18, 2018

"Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor"

The Franklin Institute Exhibit

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

September 30, 2017 - March 4, 2018


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