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:


  1. My parents were stranding RIGHT THERE, 2 years ago. Surreal to see them posing with this treasure....

  2. OMG your kidding me!?.. wow.. Im suprised that people are allowed to actually take photos there.

    Ive always been interested in these worriers. When I was very young my Mum travelled to see an exhibition of some of these worriers, that was being shown Internationally. That would have been in the late 1970's and I've kept my eye on their progress over the last 20 years.

    The link that I left above the You Tube link is very very interesting. The Emporer was only 12 1/2 when he became Emporer and he really achieved some major achievements for China. I wonder how long it will be before archeologists unearth the entire area.. I think I heard that it is predicted to take a further 20 years.
    Just imagine what they will find in the Emporers tombe when they funally excavate that... I sure hope they dont put him in a glass display case and exhibit him like past Egyptian Pheros, I find that to be too much of an invasion.

    Damn.. Your folks are so lucky to have actually witnessed this place with their own eyes. .. How long was there trip? Have they travelled abroad often?

  3. I'll ask them for shots and post them for you.... They were allowed taking pictures as long as flashes weren't used... some shots were very clear none the less. Of course most of the site is out of reach... but some parts are made available to the public. Some public area's are reproductions... so you can touch and click to your hearts content hehehe.

    Fascinating indeed! I wish mom was on Multiply.. oh the blogs she could write! Both my parents spoke highly of this wonder... for hours on end lol.

    My parents are world travelers. They've seen most of what this planet has to offer. ALL of Canada, ALL of the States, ALL of Mexico, Most of South America, Most of Europe, Lots of Africa, including Egypt, my life long dream, A few place in Asia and last but not least.. they been eying Australia (if they don't kill each other first).

  4. Ohhh BOY... how lucky are your parents?

    I have a friend on Yahoo messenger who has travelled Internationally alot also but alas I can not get him to start a Multiply page. I still have not have seen his African and Argentinian pictures from last year. grrrr
    I researched a Photobucket or Flicker site for him because he wanted to load the pictures to share with online and business friends but he still hasnt uploaded any pictures.. time is scarce.
    Ive told him to forward me the DVD of pictures, at least that way we can discuss them as I look at them. I dont want to just look at a whole heap of pictures.. I want to know all about what Im looking at!!

    Man , the conversations you must have had with your folks about all that they have seen.

    It would be fantastic if you get the time to upload some shots from your parents travel .. all if possible lol I truly would love to see them and discuss them with you Mims.

    Hey, would be great if they came to Autralia. It is really such a diverse country with so much to see. I just know they will love it.