The Terracotta Army


The Terracotta Army is Epic. So epic I have to believe that some lost Grecian wandered to china, saw the Terracotta army and was inspired to invent the word EPIC.  There are around 9000 figures. It’s not just soldiers, though there are more than 8000 of them, there are also chariots (~130) and horses (~520). Everything that you need to wage battle 200 BC Chinese emperor style.

The magnitude was impressive here, but even more impressive was the detailing. The soldiers did not all look the same, there were different kinds and ranks of soldiers. Most amazing are the faces, they all seem to be unique. The army is divided into battalions each with a rank of cavalrymen, a rank of archers and a general.

The warriors that we see today hold very little of the splendor that they once had. When they opened the first pit (area with figures) The scientists and artists were awed and amazed by the beautiful and vivid coloring of the army. Within a few hours the colors started to fade and despite the scientists’ best efforts the colors were gone within a few months. Now we see dreary dust colored statues but the researchers are trying to reconstruct the coloring. Many of the pits of warriors have not yet been opened. The hope is that they will be opened when we have the technology required to save the color.

All of this was created by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.  The location is sometimes called the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum. We did not see the Emperor’s tomb itself. It is still sealed and scientists currently have no plans to  excavate it. The footprint of the tomb is about the size of a football field.

Like most amazing ancient achievements this mausoleum was built on the backs of poor slaves.  The backs of 700,000 slaves in fact, or 700,000 “governmental laborers” if you want to be politically correct. It is now believed that these workers were then buried alive along with the clay soldiers once the army was complete. Researchers are an analyzing many bones they have found to determine who these people were. I sometimes ponder what it means about humanity that so many amazing things have been created by the unwilling.

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