Link #130: A Chinese Emperor Was Buried With 8000 Strong Army Of Statues!

Terracotta Army China


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Link #130: A Chinese Emperor Was Buried With 8000 Strong Army Of Statues!

Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army. Image credit: capelle79/CC BY 2.0

In our last article, we spoke about the outrageous and already banned tradition of foot binding in ancient China. We described how the ritual came to be and even why it was practiced in the region for more than a thousand years. The ancient Chinese culture is often criticised for barbaric rituals like foot binding but it was also one of the first and greatest civilisations on the planet.

There have been many great things that were achieved by the ancient Chinese civilisation. Take for example the Terracotta Army in China. The Terracotta Army is a testimony to the great things than ancient Chinese civilisation could achieve. What is the Terracotta Army? Read on and find out!

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What Is The Terracotta Army?

Pit 1, Museum of Terracotta Army, Xi'an, China
Pit 1, Museum of Terracotta Army, Xi’an, China. Image credit: BY 2.0

The Terracotta Army is an army of 8,000 statues of soldiers of different types. Each statue in the Army is life size and unique. This means that no two statues in the Terracotta Army are alike. Variations were created by showing varying ages, multiple facial expressions, attire, armour, different hairstyles, and even different heights.

The Terracotta Army is a part of the huge burial chamber or tomb of the first Emperor of China, Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Emperor Qin Shi Huang is credited with creating the country of China, which is why the nation was named after his name (Qin is pronounced as Chin).

The Terracotta Army was built over a period of 11 years and required more than 700,000 artisans to create. The construction of the Terracotta Army occurred more than 2000 years ago in between 210 BC and 200 BC.

Why Was The Terracotta Army Built?

Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang, portrait in 18th centuy album Lidai diwang xiang. CC0 Public Domain.

The reasons why the Terracotta Army was built are many. The first of these is that the Terracotta Army was built in honour of the great Emperor. Another is that the Terracotta Army is supposed to symbolise the armies that united multiple city states of China under one rule.

The third is that the purpose of the Terracotta Army is to protect the Emperor in the afterlife as the Chinese believed that statues could become real in the afterlife. This ties in well with what the historians know of Emperor Qin of China.

According to stories, Emperor Qin was obsessive about life after death. Records suggest that he spent a lot of resources on finding a way to become immortal or, at least, prolong his life.

How Was The Terracotta Army Built?

Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army by clgregor/CC BY 2.0

In order to build something on such a large scale, the Chinese had to use an assembly line like construction method. Archaeologists say that the artisans used generic moulds to create various parts of each soldier.

For instance, the limbs, torsos, and heads were all alike. However, there were some established templates that were used. A typical example of this was the heads. There were about 10 different shapes of heads that were created. The reason why each statue is unique in its own right is that unique elements were added to these generic assembly line productions.

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