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Museum of Qing Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

Museum of Qing Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum in Lintong County within Shaanxi province. It is a sight not to be missed by visitors in China.

Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had work done on his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xian in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond a reasonable doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).

The State Council authorized the building of a museum on this site in 1975. When completed, people from far and wide came to visit Xian and the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors Horses , which have become landmarks on all travelers' itineraries.

Life size terracotta figures of warriors and horses are arranged in battle formations as star features at the museum. They are replicas of what the imperial guard looked like in that time.

The museum covers an area of 16,300 square meters, divided into three sections: No. 1 Pit, No. 2 Pit, and No. 3 Pit, respectively. They were tagged in order of their discoveries. No. 1 Pit is the largest and first opened to the public on China's National Day in 1979. There are columns of soldiers at the front, followed by war chariots at the back.

No. 2 Pit was founded in 1976 and is 20 meters northeast of No. 1 Pit. It contained over a thousand warriors and 90 chariots of wood. It was unveiled to the public in 1994. Archeologists came upon No. 3 Pit also in 1976, and it was 25 meters northwest of No. 1 Pit. It looked like the command center of the armed forces. It went on display in 1989, with 68 warriors, a war chariot and four horses.

In total over 7,000 pottery soldiers, horses, chariots, and even weapons have been unearthed from these pits. Most of them have been restored to their former glory.

The Terracotta Warriors and Horses are a sensational archeological find. It has put Xian on the map for tourists. It was listed by UNESCO in 1987 as one of the world cultural heritages.