Tuesday, August 7, 2012

He could take it with him

The History Channel's extensive documentary China's First Emperor recounts the reign of Qin Shi Huangdi, the begetter of the Great Wall of China as well as of the vast contingents of terra cotta statues buried with him (think 8,000 warriors). The striking photo above shows some of an additional 110 newly found statues being conserved; as you can tell, they were painted and were differentiated in many ways. They are in much better condition than the earlier finds, and some have even retained their original colors. Twelve pottery horses, parts of chariots, weapons, and tools were also unearthed recently at the excavation site (near Xi'an city in Shaanxi province).
The emperor's underground  demesne was discovered in 1974—2,200 years after his reign ended. The statuary includes soldiers arranged in battle formation (armored officers, infantrymen, and standing and kneeling archers), as well as a terra cotta "war horse." They were buried with real weapons, which were later plundered.
Court official (photos: Wang Da-Gang)
In addition to the masses of troops ready to be mustered, the necropolis featured courtiers, diplomats, and acrobats. According to Chinese archaeologist Duan Qingbo, the figures represent "an imitation of the real organization of the Qin dynasty."
Viewing these statues give one such a visceral sense of these people who lived so long ago and far away. And despite all the excavation, the Chinese have refrained from opening the Emperor's tomb. R.I.P.


9 comments:

  1. The condition of some of these finds is amazing!! I can only imagine some of the things yet to be (if ever) un-earthed the world over:)

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    1. I am an avid reader of the History Blog ... it's always got something cool someone dug up (or stole and was recovered).

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  2. I have always found the Terracotta army to be fascinating! I believe they brought some over to DC a year or two ago and I never went! I'm kicking myself now for not going!

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    1. I'm kicking myself too ... I think they were at the National Geographic. It's like not going to see King Tut's treasures (I did do that!)

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  3. The fact that these statues are over 2000 years old is just really fascinating, I must say they are holding up quite well.

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  4. Qin Shi Huangti (can't get this new spelling) ascended into power at thirteen, survived assassination attempts, unified China, and left two of the modern world's great wonders. He also burned books and buried scholars alive.
    He died because he thought mercury would allow him to live forever. They say his tomb area reeks of mercury to this day.
    He lived from 259 B. C. to 210 B. C. A short and busy life.

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  5. Ewwwwwww! (burning books & scholars)

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  6. Who drew the portrait of Qin Shi Huangdi?

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  7. It's always my pleasure to read this type of stuff.I am very much interested in these types of topics from childhood and it's my habit to read this.
    photo retouching

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