Connie: I had read so much about the warriors that although I have never been here it, feels like returning to someplace I know. Sheven spent some time trying to "wrap" her head around 2,200 years of history, which is the length of time between this tomb attendant pit was filled in by Qin Emperor's men and when a farmer digging a well came up with a pottery head in 1974.
This is a working archaeological dig, and there is constant restoration work. Most of the warriors were damaged when unearthed and had to be put back together. Some of them still had their original 2,200 year old paint jobs. Each individual, his rank, age, and even mood distinct and as clear today as . Excavation has unearthed horses as well; full-sized, muscular creatures with flared nostrils and sturdy legs. It is believed that the was modeled after the Qin Emperor's actual army, numbering 6,000 according to achaeologists. The detail and individuality is absolutely astonishing.
What was even more so were the twounearthed nearby. These chariot models (1/4 scale) had hundreds of moving parts, which after restoration, still works. The horses' bit, bridle and reins are fully articulated pieces of bronze. Sunshades on the chariots tilt via a linch-pin mechanism, and a window on the Emperor's carriage still slides open.
It is beyond remarkable that people 2,200 years ago had grasp of the technology required to produce both the life-sized terracotta statues and the model chariots.
Our tour guide was excellent - she clearly knew what she was talking about. I had read so much about this that I would have known if she didn't.
It's particularly ironic that one of China's most significant and enduring archaeological legacies was left to the world by an emperor whose dynasty collapsed only fifteen years after his death. was a very complicated character - ruthless tyrant; tireless reformer of language, weights and meausures, and currency; unifier of China; and its most feared despot all in one brilliant and ambitious man.
The Qin Emperor began the construction of the Great Wall, but building it at such a blistering pace, working so many conscripted laborers to death, and taxing heavily to fund the Wall, that it became the most hated civil construction project in Chinese history. So hated, that it eventually lead to a peasant rebellion that overthrew Qin and established the Han Dynasty to rule China from 206 BC to 220 AD. One warlord of the rebellion broke into the warriors pit and deliberately smashed these symbols of Qin power, causing significant, if ancient, damages which are now being by modern Chinese archaeologists.
Qin Emperor's tomb (not excavated) and the terracotta army took thousands of workers 38 years to build; if I wanted to it would take just as long for me to truly study and understand it.
The following photos are the work of Ed Levin, who has (a) a better camera and (b) much, much better photography skillz than yours poor truly. Remember to click on the images on this page to view the same larger.