History and Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors
Christened the Eight Wonder of the World, the Terracotta Warriors (or Army) refers to the humanoid battalion of clay troops that were accidentally discovered in 1974, around the vicinity of the tomb of the first Chinese emperor – Qin Shi Huang. The multitude of clay soldiers is thought to be the protectors of the emperor’s large and luxurious mausoleum.
Until their monumental discovery in 1974, by a farmer called Yang Zhifa, nobody suspected that such an artistic archaeological treasure could be hiding beneath the earth for thousands of years.
Read with rapt attention as we bring you the interesting history and secrets of the Terracotta Warriors.
Discovery of the Terracotta Army
Starting with the wonderful discovery of the soldiers, it happened when some workers (believed to be farmers) were digging down to create a well in the Chinese city of Xi’an. On that very day of March 29, 1974, as the diggers penetrated deeper below the base of Mount Li, their digging tool hooked up to the clay army figures. Little did they know that they had chanced on a phenomenal archaeological finding – the Terracotta Warriors.
The mesmerized workers dashed home and informed the Chinese authorities about the mysterious find – they could even predict for themselves that history was about to be made. The Chinese government then sent a team of archaeologists to explore the site.
To the utter dismay of the team of experts, the Terracotta Army was not one or two – there were thousands of them there, all built with clay. The army was positioned in terms of their military ranks.
Although the Terracotta Warriors appear grayish today, pieces of faded paint gave clues that the artifacts may have once shone brightly down there. Even more surprisingly, further excavations and explorations of the site led to shocking discoveries of war tools such as swords, arrows, and weapons of assorted kinds.
The clay-carved soldiers reside in trenched subterranean corridors. Within these corridors, you could find clay horses with wooden chariots.
The Bottom Line of the Discovery
Upon careful studies and analysis, it has been fairly concluded that the underground treasure of Terracotta Warriors comprises the defensive features of the tomb (mausoleum) of China’s first emperor – Qin Shi Huang or Huangi – who was absolutely obsessed about the afterlife. Archeologists believe that the clay statues of soldiers were designed to serve or guard the emperor in his next life.
Thanks to history and the reality of the emperor’s tomb, the world was saved from speculations about alien megastructures which would have hovered around this beautiful discovery.
This takes us to a flashback on the Chinese first emperor, without whom, this discovery wouldn’t have been possible. Instead of having human servants buried with him, the good king preferred clay warriors to keep him company.
First Emperor of China – Qin Shi Huang
He was a Chinese ruler of the Qing state who has been given great credit for founding the Qing Dynasty. In 221 CE, aside from laying the foundation of the Qing Dynasty, Shi Huang was the unifier of China.
When he rose to the throne as China’s first emperor, he was as young as 13. But he later proved to be one of the best rulers of ancient China. His reign chalked a tall list of wonderful achievements such as standardization of measurements, building the first phase of the Great Wall of China, constructing waterways and roads to link the states, and many more achievements.
Construction of the Tomb
Upon coming into power in his teenage years, Huangdi immediately ordered the construction of a splendid mausoleum to serve as his final resting place. Out of his obsession with immortality, the king searched for ways to prolong his life. But when all hopes of beating death seemed unrealistic, he settled on a mausoleum.
To acquire enough space for the big construction project, some 30,000 families were evicted from the proposed site to give way for about 700,000 workers to build the tomb. Even though construction work wasn’t fully completed, emperor Huangdi got buried in his dream mausoleum after his death in 210 CE. To this date, his mausoleum is the Greatest Tomb in the World.
The burial ground covers an estimated area of 13.5-23.2 square miles (35-60 square kilometers). It’s located at the base of the artificial Mountain Li, close to Lintong. A great portion of the tomb still remains unexplored. So the Terracotta Warriors only represent a small fraction of valuables in the mausoleum.
Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors
Beneath the grounds of emperor Huangdi’s 2200-year-old mausoleum, there are deep and dark secrets. Using the nosy eyes of modern technology, archeologists are still dumbfounded by the treasures of wealth in the tomb. Here some secrets of the Terracotta Warriors.
The Warriors Are Plenty
Believe it or not, emperor Huangdi’s tomb broke records of his predecessors’ resting places – his Terracotta Army number over a whopping 7000 warriors. Horses and chariots are about 600 and 100 respectively. More of them are yet to be discovered.
Their Faces Are All Unique
The craftsmen who carved these clay warriors modeled them to have unique facial makeup, comparable to the uniqueness of fingerprints. This is crazy, considering the fact the infantry is huge. It has been said that, if a craftsman produced an ugly warrior, King Huangdi would have him killed. There was simply no room for error.
There Are Deadly Weapons in the Tomb
If you love your life, chances are you won’t like to tamper with the weapons of these life-size soldiers who line themselves up in rows, occupying 4 different pits – their chrome-plated weapons are still sharp and strong. Besides, there are traps inside – you might get shot by the automatic crossbows that were fixed inside the necropolis to protect it from looters.
The Army Reside in a Secret City
Perhaps, the biggest of all the Terracotta secrets is that they live a secret Chinese city. Much is still unknown about the treasures beneath it, but there are legends about mercury rivers and celestial bodies within the tomb. China doesn’t want to excavate the tomb anytime soon, due to fears of accidentally destroying its precious content.
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