China's Terracotta Army
Picture it, China 1974 some farmers are digging a new well and happen to stumble upon what will be considered a national treasure. So what have these farmers stumbled upon? The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor and one of the largest archaeological finds, the Terracotta Army. OK some of you may be thinking, so what, but it takes a bit of imagination to picture it, essentially it was a massive underground city built for the Qin Emperor to rule even after death. There were four massive "pits" found but only three contained the statuary and the statues, these terracotta statues numbered 8,000.
Found were 8,000 soldiers, 520 horses and 150 Calvary horses along with 130 chariots. This Terracotta Army dates back to the 3rd century and if you are not impressed with the amount of work and craftsmanship that went into this amazing feat, well then there is something wrong with you! Not only were the soldiers and military personnel found, but also strongmen, musicians and acrobats and another impressive thing to note is that it is believed that all these statues were made assembly-line style.
Why do the archeologists believe this army was assembled assembly-line style? Apparently each piece produced had to be signed by its maker, some believe as a form of quality control. So it was found that not all arms, legs, torsos or heads were created by the same person, these laborers produced only one piece of the statuary and has helped the archeologist immensely in tracking the pieces. Also interesting to note is that there was a system put into place to distinguish the different types of statues, the officers were made taller than the other figures and the uniforms and hairstyles were seemingly based upon their position in the army.
It is also believed that each statue would have had an actual weapon at their disposal but almost all were looted sometime soon after the burial. Some swords were found near the Emperors burial site believed to have been held by the guards that surrounded the tomb. This display is one of the finest displays of funerary art ever found and shows how powerful the Emperor must have been in order to have this entire necropolis built to aid him in the afterlife.
Along with the statuary found there was also discovered what appear to be many corridors that were made to resemble palace hallways that are paved with bricks and also found were wooden beams that could have made up the ceilings along these great halls. It is very fortunate for the rest of the world that either replicas or actual terracotta figures have been allowed to tour museums so that all may be allowed to gaze upon these amazing archeological finds.
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