24 July 2010
Update on Terrecotta Warriors - China
New Terracotta Warriors Excavated Archaeologists have excavated another 120 terracotta figures at the site near Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China.
These figures include more soldiers and horses. Preservation techniques have improved since the original excavations from 1978 to 1984 and special liquids have been used to help preserve colours.
Excavations will no doubt continue for many years with only periodic public releases such as these figures.
The Underground Army, more usually known as the Terracotta Army, guards the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang the first emperor of China which lies nearby. The tomb has not been excavated at all but is believed to contain fantastic treasures as well as other wonders from the period.
Some Background Info:
In the largest pit (14,000 square meters), the infantry was placed in rows four deep. Pit 2 includes a U-shaped layout of chariots, cavalry and infantry;
and Pit 3 contains a command headquarters.
Only about 1,000 soldiers have been excavated so far; archaeologists estimate that there are over 7,000 soldiers (infantry to generals), 130 chariots with horses, and 110 cavalry horses. The statues of the infantry soldiers range between 5 foot 8 inches and 6 foot 2 inches; the commanders are 6 and half feet tall.
The lower half of the kiln-fired ceramic bodies were made of solid terracotta clay, the upper half hollow. It is evident that the statues were vividly painted including a color called Chinese purple; although most of that paint has flown, traces of it may be seen on some of the statues.
Chinese excavations have been conducted at Shihuangdi’s mausoleum complex since 1974, and have included excavations in and around the mausoleum complex; they continue to reveal astonishing findings.
As Xiaoneng Yang describes Shihuangdi’s mausoleum complex, “Ample evidence demonstrates the First Emperor’s ambition: not only to control all aspects of the empire during his lifetime but to recreate the entire empire in microcosm for his after life.”
"The terracotta figures were manufactured both in workshops by government laborers and also by local craftsmen. The head, arms, legs and torsos were created separately and then assembled. Studies show that eight face moulds were most likely used, and then clay was added to provide individual facial features. Once assembled, intricate features such as facial expressions were added. It is believed that their legs were made in much the same way that terracotta drainage pipes were manufactured at the time. This would make it an assembly line production, with specific parts manufactured and assembled after being fired, as opposed to crafting one solid piece of terracotta and subsequently firing it. In those days, each workshop was required to inscribe its name on items produced to ensure quality control. This has aided modern historians in verifying that workshops that once made tiles and other mundane items were commandeered to work on the terracotta army. Upon completion, the terracotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty
A wealth of very interesting information can be found at:
You Tube Clip from National Geographic is very interesting to watch also: