Imagine a city made entirely out of stone. The buildings made out of stone, the decorations made out of stone, and even household articles made out of stone. Seems pretty everyday, right? Now add to that living creatures made out of stones. Artists, musicians, acrobats, horses, government officials, and even warriors made out of stone. Seems downright strange doesnt it? Well, this is exactly what the Terracotta Warriors of China looks like. And there are not a few number of them. There are thousands.
The Terracotta Warriors of China was first found out accidentally by farmers in the suburb of Xian, in the Shaanxi Province. This happened in 1974, when the farmers were in the process of drilling a water well near Mount Li. This new find instantly led to investigations being carried out by archaeologists, which led to quite a few discoveries about the early Chinese dynasty. The entire function of the the terracotta army was to serve the dead Emperor Qin, who was the first Emperor of China, between 210-209 BC, in his afterlife. It is believed that there are about 8000 statues in total, and majority of these are still to be unearthed.
These statues, numbering around 8000, took 38 years to complete and had an astonishing seven hundred and twenty thousand workers toiling to make these statues what they are today. The statues date to around two thousand two hundred years back. These statues are very minutely detailed, and the craftsmanship employed on them is nothing short of marvelous. While most of these statues are those of warriors, horses and chariots, there are also people belonging to other occupations who are sculpted, showing their importance in the Emperors afterlife. The imagery of this place puts in mind the scene of a necropolis, a city meant entirely for the dead.
The construction of the mausoleum and the statues began when Emperor Qin was barely 13 years of age. The material for the terracotta armies of China was most probably obtained from Mount Lishan. It was the Emperors orders that no too statues were supposed to look the same. When the entire construction was complete, what remained was humongous palaces, and every other feature that could depict the world. This was the ideation behind Qins creation: showing off the features of the natural world, in the realm of his otherworld.
Even today much of Qins palace and its treasures remain hidden for the simple reason that excavators are afraid that unearthing any part of the tomb would lead to destruction of the terracotta treasures within. While a little part of the excavation work, has led to amazing results, the fear of destroying the entire tomb by excavating more is a looming fear at all times.
The Terracotta Warriors of China is an international marvel, and has generated a lot of interest world wide. This work of art is no less than an engineering marvel, and will continue to be a tourist attraction for maybe more centuries to come. While it may not be possible to travel to China to view them, one could see replicas of the same in the Forbidden Gardens in Texas. Also, going to the British Museum would be a good option, as it conducts a rotating exhibition which show 12 of the authentic Terracotta warriors of China.