The Terracotta Warriors (Bing Ma Yong) [兵马俑]

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Arguably one of China's most famous and popular tourist sites, the Terracotta Warriors, also called the Terracotta Army (Bing Ma Yong) was one of the most sensational archeological discoveries of the 20th century. Peasants digging a well in 1974 came across an underground vault of earth and timber that turned out to conceal an astonishing army of 6000 life-size warriors and horses fashioned from terracotta, each with individual facial features different from all the others. After the discovery of two smaller vaults nearby in 1976, the total number of figures was found to be almost 8000. They were almost certainly placed there to guard the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shihuang (26...

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Arguably one of China's most famous and popular tourist sites, the Terracotta Warriors, also called the Terracotta Army (Bing Ma Yong) was one of the most sensational archeological discoveries of the 20th century. Peasants digging a well in 1974 came across an underground vault of earth and timber that turned out to conceal an astonishing army of 6000 life-size warriors and horses fashioned from terracotta, each with individual facial features different from all the others. After the discovery of two smaller vaults nearby in 1976, the total number of figures was found to be almost 8000. They were almost certainly placed there to guard the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shihuang (260-210 BC). When originally placed in the pit, the warriors were painted, but now they have returned to their original color. They were also equipped with weapons, most of which have survived in excellent condition, although wooden parts have disintegrated. The troops were displayed in strictly orthodox battle array, and their uniforms and protective clothing are shown with meticulous attention to detail. There is speculation that an even larger army stands guard under and around Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum, but it will be decades– if at all – before the site can be properly investigated. Meanwhile, the Emperor's silent legions stand where they were placed 2200 years ago, a symbol of the might of the first man to unify China. WARNING: Photography on the site is prohibited and the rule is strictly enforced. Violators are liable to have their camera confiscated. Those interested in a memento can purchase a number of post cards, and pictures in the gift shop.

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