of the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) is located
36 kilometers east of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, and
5 kilometers east of Lintong County. The entire mausoleum occupies
an area of eight square kilometers and the mound stands 55 meters
high. It is the first and largest imperial mausoleum in China.
Since 1974, three vaults containing terra-cotta figures have been
found 1.5 kilometers east of the mausoleum. Eight thousand terra-cotta warriors, hundreds of chariots and ten thousand pieces of actual weaponry have been unearthed from the three vaults. The terra cortta figures of warriors and horses are simple in style, but highly realistic and animated. And each warrior has different features and facial expression.
In 1980, two sets of large bronze chariots and horses were excavated west of the mausoleum. Discovery of the buried legion has aroused great interest all over the world, making it "the eighth wonder of the world".
In December 1987, UNESCO listed it as a World Heritage Site.
Some farmers discovered the Terracotta Warriors, located in Xi'an,
Shaanxi Province, in March 1974, while digging a well. According
to the on-the-spot measurement after excavation, Vault 1, an underground
architectural complex, is 5 meters deep, 230 meters long east
to west, and 62 meters wide, north to south, covering an area
of over 14,000 square meters. Leading down into the Vault is five
slops doorways on each side. At a distance of 20 meters north
of Vault 1, from east to west lie Vault 2 and Vault 3. Fire had
wrought damages on all the three Vaults with the ground caved
in and most pottery warriors, horses and weapons broken.
Besides some bronze swords, curved swords,
spears, crossbows, arrowheads etc. used as weapons in actual
altogether six thousand pieces of pottery warriors and horses
were unearthed from the Vault 1. The unearthed pottery warriors
are 1.8 meters high and clay horses, 2 meters long and 1.5 meters
high. In the battle array, the vanguard appeared to be formed
by three ranks of warriors all facing east, with 70 men in battle
attire in each rank. Immediately behind the van is the main body
of 38-column formation. On each of the three sides of the main
body arrays a single rank of men, all facing out, who looked to
be the flank and rear guards of the formation.
The pottery army, compact in organization and
magnificent in battle arrays, is presented on a grand scale. The
pottery warriors, well-proportioned and exquisitely shaped, have
each a distinctive individual expression: some biting their lips,
some glaring or gazing, some meditating with their heads lowered,
or with troubled looks, others appearing naive or animated. With
the armor buckled on, the soldier has his crossbow under the arm,
and arrow quiver slung over the shoulder. The general, armored
and keeping a hand on the tip of sword handle, maintains an awesome
bearing. Strong and dynamic, the horse rears its head, bristling.
The grandeur and superb workmanship fully demonstrate the great
talent and vision of the Chinese nation.
In 1980, another two bronze chariots with riders
and horses of larger size were unearthed. The chariots each with
four bronze horses harnessed to, and a driver, have a luxurious
canopy, pierced windows and a saddle and a bridle of gold and
silver ornaments. The chariots and horses are colorful and really
true to life.
These artistic treasures of the Qin Dynasty
are without doubt, one of the world's great wonders.