As soon as we thought that we would come to Liverpool at this time of year Helen booked some tickets to see the Terracota Warriors exhibition. It was a good job she did as they are almost sold out for weeks ahead. However, apparently, they keep 20 tickets back for each day to sell on the door. They go on sale when they open at 0930 and on a first come, first served basis. Therefore book on line well ahead or get to the ticket booth early on the day you go.
The terracotta figures were buried to travel with the Emporer Qin Shi Huang to the afterlife that they thought was just the same as this life, in 210-209BC. They were buried in pits around the central mausoleum where the Emporer was interred. Above is a horse keeper, on on eleven buried in a pit that seems to have represented the Royal Stables. The horses had their tails plaited and had fancy saddles. In the pit were also 12 bodies of real horses that seem to have been killed before being buried.
This is actually a replica of the actual one of two chariots that were found. They were made of bronze and embellished with gold and silver. This one is the lead chariot that went ahead of the Emperor as he traveled his kingdom. All the terracotta figures seem bare, but when buried they were very brightly painted
This is a bronze cauldron that weighs 212kg that is the largest found. It was actually found on top of a pit where strongmen and acrobat figures were buried. It seems that part of the strongman's act was lifting such vessels.
This is the other bronze chariot, or a replica of, that was found near the mausoleum. The driver knelt up to drive. It is said that when the Emperor's body was brought to the site it had a cart of salted fish travelling behind to hide the smell of decomposition!
The figures are about 6 foot tall. This one is a man commanding a chariot and he would have been holding the reins in his hands. Originally he was buried with real wooden chariots that have obviously rotted away. On either side of him on the chariot would two armed guardians, and chariots were found in all the armies pits.
This is a kneeling archer who would have been holding a cross bow rather than a long or short bow. They were found in pairs surrounded by standing archers.
This chap was a General as can be decided by his uniform and armour. I think there were six full figures in all to represent several of the different kinds. The figures were produced in a production line of artisans. Around 100 of their names have been found engraved on their feet. There was a combination of moulds joined together with coiled clay. The legs and feet are solid. The nose ears and hair were added to the two part head and fine detail added by sharp stick. It seems that the hair and faces are all different. They were fired in near by kilns.
The figures were found in 1974 when local farmers were drilling a well. So far three pits covering around 22000sq mt have been uncovered. Each pit was divided into corridors with a brick floor and were covered over with wooden planks and bamboo matting with earth on top. When the planks rotted the pits filled. So far about 2000 warriors and horses have been uncovered along with 130 wooden chariots. They think there may be around 8000 in all! The warriors were found in battle formation, two pits with the bulk of the 'army' and a smaller one with the head quarters staff. There were infantry, cavalry, charioteers, archers, general, officers and a guard of honour. In other pits there were officials of the court, eunuchs and horse keepers etc.
Also in the exhibition are grave goods from a later period the Han Dynasty 206 BC to 220AD. In this case the 2000 infantry figures were not full size, but a round a foot tall. They would have held wooden weapons.
There were also about 500 figures of horses and riders. They would have had reins and a weapon in their hands and other details would have been painted on to them.
these anatomically correct figures are from a General of the Han Dynasty's tomb. When buried they had wooden arms and were dressed in silk, leather and linen. Sadly they have rotted away.
The Tomb of Emperor Jing, 188 BC to 141 BC, was buried with hundreds of clay models of many different domesticated animals, both male and female. They were mass produced in moulds and were realistic. They were placed in the tomb to ensure the occupant had plenty of food etc when he got to the after life.
The 'Golden Horse of Maoling' was found in the burial pit of Emperor Wu 141 BC to 87 BC, or maybe that of his elder sister Princess Pingyang. It is that that it represents the type of horse that Emperor Wu had breed using stock from Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan. They were breed for speed, endurance and intelligence to assist him defeat the nomadic people to his north and help him achieve immortality. It is about 2 foot high.
It is one of those exhibitions that you may feel you need to see, and we were there for about 80 mins. There is a little queuing to get in as they are only allowed so many in the exhibition at a time, but you can stay within the space as long as you want. It is interesting to note that the actual Mausoleum of Emperor Qin, the First Emperor, has not really been revealed yet but is said to reveal an area set out with cities, as in a map. There are rivers and seas of mercury and the roof is painted with the celestial sphere. It is the tantalising thought that there is so much more to be revealed from this accidental find in 1974.