THE TERRACOTTA ARMY is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The subterranean army of terracotta soldiers, 2200 years old, is one of the most spectacular assets of China’s cultural heritage.
It is part of a vast tomb built by the first Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC), who united all China. His tomb took 36 years to build, and hundreds of thousands of workers. Apparenty it is a small-scale replica of the capital, Xianyan. According to ancient manuscrips, the roof was covered with jewels representing the sky. Mercury was used to create the impression of flowing water. Legend has it that all workers and supervisors on this project were buried alive.
Discovered accidentally by peasants in 1974, the Teracotta Army consists of over 7,000 statues, buried at 5 m. The terracotta figures are life-sized, each 1.8 m tall and with different faces, some of incredible realism. They were placed facing eastwards, in eleven combat formations of soldiers, officers and horse-pulled chariots.
Three large warrior tombs have been uncovered, but also some smaller ones, with various servants and animals meant to serve the emperor in the afterlife.