Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum

Terra-cotta Warriors Museum
In March 1974, when several farmers were sinking a well about 1.5 kilometers east of the First Qin Emperor's Mausoleum, they came upon many fragments of terracotta figures. The results of archaeological excavation showed that it was an oblong pit with terracotta warriors and horses. Again in 1976, two more pits were discovered 20 metres and 25 meters north of the former one respectively. They were then named Pit 1, Pit 2, and Pit 3 by the order of discovery. The three pits cover a total area of 22,780 square meters.

Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses
In order to provide the historical artifacts with adequate protection, a museum was set up on the site of Pit 1 in 1975 upon the approval of the State Council. Pit 1 covers an area of 16,300 square meters. The museum was officially open to the public on September 27, 1989. The exhibition hall of Pit 2 was completed and open to the public in 1994. the Museum of the First Qin Emperor's Terracotta Army, one of the top ten places of historical interest in China, was listed as the world heritage by the UNESCO about a decade ago.

Xian Terra-cotta Warriors Tour

Pit 1

Pit No.1
Pit 1 takes an oblong shape. It is 230 meters long, 62 meters wide and five meters deep. It covers an area of 14,260 square meters. It is an earth-and-wood structure in the shape of a tunnel. There are five sloping entrances on the eastern and western sides respectively. Inside the pit are ten earth-rammed partition walls, across which huge and strong rafters are placed. The rafters are covered with mats and fine earth. The floor is paved with bricks.

Excavation Work in Pit No.1
The terracotta warriors and horses in Pit 1 are arrayed in a battle formation, in the long corridor to the east in battle robes, 70 in each, totaling 210 together, armed with bows and arrows, they constitute the vanguard. There is one row of warriors in the south, north and west of the corridor respectively, facing outward. They are probably the flanks and the rear guard. Holding crossbows and arrows and other long-distance shooting weapons, they took up the job of defending the whole army. The ten rammed partition walls divided Pit 1 into 11 latitudinal corridors where stand 28 columns of warriors facing east with horse-drawn chariots in the centre. The warriors, clad in armor and armed with long-shaft weapons, are probably the main body of the formation and represent the principal force. There are altogether 27 trail trenches. According to the density of the formation in each trail, it is assumed that more than 6,000 terracotta warriors and horses could be unearthed from Pit I, most of which are infantrymen.

Pit 2
Terra-cotta General in Pit No. 2
Pit 2 is located 20, etres to the north of the eastern end of Pit 1. The Pit is L-shaped and consists of four different mixed military forces in four arrays. It is estimated that there are over 1,000 terracotta figures, 500 horse-drawn chariots and saddled horses. The pit is measured 6,000square meters. The first array, the eastern protruding part of the pit, is composed of 334 archers; to the south of the pit is the second array, including the first through the eighth passage ways. It is composed of 64 chariots, each of which carries three warriors. The third array, the middle of the pit, including the ninth through the eleventh passage ways, is composed of 19 chariots and 100 infantrymen. The fourth array to the north of the pit, including the 12th through the 14th passage ways, is composed of six chariots, 124 saddled horses and cavalrymen. The four arrays are closely connected to constitute a complete battle formation and can be divided up to act independently, capable of attacking and defending and quick response. Three of the four arrays in Pit 2 have charioteers. The chariots took up most of the battle formation. This proves that charioteers were still the principal fighting forces in the Qin Dynasty. The wooden chariots have become decayed with age, but the wheels left clear traces in the clay. The bronze parts of the chariots remain intact.

Pit 3
Pit No.3
Pit 3 is located 25 meters to the north of Pit 1 and to the west of Pit 2. The plane of the pit is of concave shape, totaling about 520square meters. One chariot, four terracotta horses and 68 clay armored warriors were unearthed out of the pit. To its east there is a sloping entrance, 11.2 meters long, 3.7 meters wide, opposite which is a stable. On both sides of the stable, there is a winging room. 68 terracotta figures were unearthed from it. The arrangement of the terracotta figures is quite different from that in Pit 1 and Pit 2, in which the warriors are placed in battle formation. But those in Pit 3 are arrayed opposite to each other along the walls, in two rows. Even the weapons held by the warriors in Pit 3 are different from those in the weapons such as spears, barbed spears, swords and ases. Only one kind of weapon called "shu" was discovered in Pit 3. this kind of weapon had no blades and is believed to be used by the guards of honor. Unearthed also in this pit were a remaining deer-horn and animal bones. This is probably the place where sacrificial offerings and war prayers were practiced. Judging by the layout of Pit 3, this is most likely the headquarters directing the mighty underground army.

The making of the terracotta warriors and horses
The height of the terracotta warriors varies from 1.78 meters to 1.97. Their weights are also different. The lightest is less than 110 kilogram and the heaviest 300 kilogram. The roughly made models were carved exquisitely in detail according to their personal strata and characters. Finally, moustache and hair in various styles were made. After careful and detailed engraving, the terracotta warriors looked vivid, different in appearance and expressions. It is presumed that each warrior was made according to the real valiant Qin army soldier.

After the terracotta warriors were readily made, they were put into kilns to be baked. The clay figures were carefully painted with colors after they were baked. As the figures have been burnt and gone through a natural process of decay, we can not see their original gorgeous colors. However, most of the figures bear the traces of the original colors, and a few of them are still as bright as new.

The Qin weapons
Thousands of real weapons were unearthed from the pits, including broad knives, swords,
Kneeling Archer in Pit No.2
spears, dagger-axes, halberds, arrows, crossbows, and arrowheads. The weapons can be classified into four categories: long-shaft weapons, short weapons, long-range weapons and weapons for guards of honor. They were delicately made and enjoyed a high level of casting technology.

The most arresting among the weapons is a bronze sword, which still glitters in metallic luster without being rusting, though buried underground for over 2,000 years. Technical examination reveals that sword is composed of an alloy of copper and tin, and more than ten other rare metals. It is plated with thin layer of oxidized chromium, which proves that weapon was oxidized with chromium when it was made. The technology of chromium coating was invented by the Germans in the 1930s, but in China chromium-coating technique was employed in the making of weapons over 2,000years ago. It is really a wonder and compels admiration.

The Bronze Chariots and Horses
No.1 Bronze Chariot - High Chariot
In December 1980, two sets of large painted bronze chariots and horses were unearthed 20 metres west of the First Qin Emperor's Mausoleum. They were labeled as Chariot No.1 and Chariot No. 2 respectively by the order of discovery. They had then been enclosed in a wooden coffin and buried in a pit weven metre deep. When excavated, the chariots and horses were seriously damaged due to the decayed wooden coffin and the collapse of earthen layers. No.2 bronze chariot and horses were found broken into 1,555 pieces when excavated. After two-and a half years of careful and painstaking restoration by archaeologists and other experts, they were finally open to the public on October 1, 1983. No. 1 bronze chariot and horses were also open to the public in 1988.

No.2 Bronze Chariot - Comfortable Chariot
The bronze chariots drawn by four horses, with a single shaft, were placed one before the other vertically. The front chariot, No.1 Chariot was named "High Chariot", and also called "Battle Carriage" or an "Inspection Carrige".The Chariot with the horses in front, is 2.57 meters long and weights 1,061 kilos. On the outer side of the left protecting board is a quiver in which 12 bronze arrows are laid. On the inner side of the right protecting board there is a bronze shield inserted in a set of silver shield-holders. both sides of the shield are colorfully painted by cloud-like patterns. This shield is th emost complede shield ever discovered from the Qin Dynasty.  The Charioteer stands on th echariot looking ahead with a prudent and humble facial expression. The No.2 Chariot named "Comforatable Chariot". It has a front Chamber and a back chamber, between which there is a partition. The Chariot sit in th efront chamber driving the chariot. He has the same costume as the driver of the High Chariot but he looks more humble. The back chamber is quite spacious, 0.78 meters wide and 0.88 meters long. There is a window on either side with a door at the back. The windows and doors could close and open easily. The diamond-flower holes in the windows were used for ventilation. Therefore the Comfortable Chariot is also called "Air-conditioned Chariot". On top of the chariot, there was an elliptical umbrella-like canopy. The chariot was color-painted against a white background. The roof of the carriage is a turtle-shell canopy. The canopy is 1.78 meters long, 1.29 meters wide.

The chariots and horses are exactly the imitations of actual chariots and horses in half-size. Each chariot with horses is composed of 3,400 components. The bronze chariot is 3.17 meters long and 1.06 meters high. The bronze horse is 65-67 centimeters high, 1.2 meters long. Their weights vary from 177 kilograms, the lightest, to 212.9 kilograms, the heaviest. The total weight of the chariot, the horses and the driver is 1,243 kilograms. The main body is cast in bronze. There are altogether 1,720 pieces of gold and silver ornaments on the chariots and horses, with a total weight of seven kilograms of silver and gold wares. The umbrella-like canopy on the top is only four millimeters thick, and the window is one millimeter thick, with many ventilation holes. The horse tassels were made of bronze thread as thin as hair, whose diameter is only 0.1 millimeter. The horse necklaces were welded together with 42 nodes of gold and 42 nodes of silver. Archaeologists can see the welding joints only with a magnifier. The horses halters, made up of a gold tube and a silver tube, were joined with snap fasteners. In the halters, there is a pin. When the pin was pulled out, the halters could be removed completely. According to preliminary research, the making of the bronze chariots and horses involves different techniques such as casting, welding, riveting, mounting, embedding and carving.

The bronze chariots and horses were the earliest and most exquisitely and intricately made bronze valuables. They enjoy the highest class and have the most complete harnessing wares. They are also the largest bronze wares discovered in the history of world archaeology. The excavation of the bronze chariots and horses provides extremely valuable material and data for the textual research of the metallurgical technique, the mechanism of chariots and technological modeling of the Qin Dynasty.

Opening Hours: 08:30-17:30

Ticket Price: Peak Season (Mach 1-November 30): CNY 150; Low Season (December 1-end of February):CNY 110

The Qin came to power in 221BC as one of the western states that existed during the Warring States Period. Its leaders conquered the other warring states and unified China for the first time. A ruler, the First Emperor, or Qin Emperor Shihuang, was named inciting the long emperor tradition in China. The Qin, which was not the most culturally advanced of the Warring States, was the strongest in terms of military. The empire utilized many new technologies in warfare, especially the cavalry. The Qin is most likely where the name China originated.

Qin Shihuang's Profile
Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC) was originally known as Ying Zheng. He came to the throne of the Qin State at 13, and seized the helm of the state at 22. by 221 BC, when he was only 39 years old, he had annexed the six rival principalities and established the first centralized, united, multi-ethnic feudal empire in Chinese history-the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). He considered his achievements surpassing the legendary "San Huang (three Emperors)" and "Wu Di (Five Sovereigns)". Therefore, he created a new title for himself: "Huangdi" together with "Shi (means the first)". He proclaimed himself "Qin Shihuang" or "Qin Shihuagdi", which means he was the firs emperor of China, in the hope that the throne would be passed down to his descendants from one generation to another and that the hereditary system would be kept in working order forever. Each of the supreme rulers in later dynasties also called himself "emperor".

After he annexed the other six principalities, Qin Shihuang abolished the enfeoffment system, and adopted the prefecture and county system instead. A series of steps were taken by his order to standardize the coinage, weights and measurements, the legal codes, the axle length of carts, and the written scripts. He ordered to construct a road system linking a few states. This system became the basis of ancient roads, which was important for transportation and economic exchanges. All these measures played an important role in strengthening the unification of the whole country and promoting the cultural and economic development. They exerted an everlasting influence upon the 2000-year-long feudal history of China.

In order to exercise thought control, Qin Shihuang ordered that all books of various schools be burned except those on agriculture, divination, medicine and the Qin's history. Moreover, he also ordered 460 Confucian scholars be buried alive. As a result, almost all of the classics were destroyed.

After the unification of China, Qin Shihuang became more arrogant and ambitious than ever because he believed that his contributions to the state were beyond compare, and he was even greater than the legendary Three Emperors and Five Sovereigns. For the sake of his own pleasure, he had hundreds of thousands of conscripts build Epang Palace, which extended 50 kilometres from Xianyang (the capital) to Mount Lishan. Unfortunately, the palace was put on fire by the insurrection army at the end of the Qin dynasty. It was said that the big fire lasted for three months. We can well imagine how grand and magnificent his palace must have been.

Qin Shihuang's historic contributions to China

1.    Ended more than 250 years of rivalry among the independent principalities during the Warring States Period. Qin Shihuang was the founder of the first unified empire in the history of China.
2.    Abolished the enfeoffment system and adopted the prefecture and county system instead, and established an autocratic state with centralized power over the feudal society; Qin Shihuang created a new title for monarch: "Huangdi". The sovereigns of the next 2,200 years followed the feudal governmental structure established by him.
3.    Unified the Chinese written language.
4.    Standardized the coinage, weights and measurements, the legal codes, the axle length of carts.
5.    Constructed the first canal Lingqu, and widened and paved countless roads all over China. This system became the basis of ancient roads, which was important for transportation and economic exchanges.
6.    Linked the Great Wall, one of the Eight Wonders of the World. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
7.    Built hundreds of imperial palaces and developed many cities, and ordered a massive and extensive tomb to be built for himself, left many precious historical legacies. The Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang and Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses were made a UNESO World Heritage Site in 1987.