Secrets of the tomb of Qin Shi Huang: 7 incredible facts about the Terracotta Army that will surprise even historians

(ORDO NEWS) — In 1974, Chinese peasants digging a well stumbled upon fragments of some kind of pottery, and then on the shoulders of a baked clay statue.

The peasants took the find very seriously and reported it to archaeologists.

So, after two millennia, about 8 thousand statues of warriors returned to our world, accompanying Emperor Qin Shi Huang to the afterlife, who united then China with fire and sword and became its first ruler.

The tomb of Qin Shi Huang is located near the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province, the former capital of China during the first imperial dynasties. This is not the only tomb.

The Chinese emperors did not skimp on spending when arranging their afterlife, so there are many extensive burial complexes in those places.

Some of them contained figures of people and horses, who were supposed to serve their master in the realm of the dead, but another full-fledged army of human-sized clay soldiers has not yet been found anywhere.

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1- 8000 figures is only an approximate number

The Terracotta Army has about eight thousand figures concentrated in three underground corridors.

This is a very rough estimate, since the statues are mostly broken and require restoration or, simply put, assembling from sherds.

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Terracotta warriors before restoration

2- The statues were molded from nature

The details of the statues were molded from clay, fired, painted and assembled in this form. Legs and bodies were made using special forms, heads with faces, hairstyles, ears and everything else were most likely molded from nature or, in any case, individually.

They are different and depict different people, most likely the real fighters of Qin Shi Huang.

In addition to the infantry, the army had archers and war chariots drawn by statues of horses, also in full size, as well as statues of civil officials, musicians and other servants of the emperor.

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3- Terracotta warrior weighs 130-200 kilograms

This is a hollow clay statue depicting a soldier of the emperor in some kind of position convenient for using his weapons.

Initially, the statues were painted, but two millennia underground affected their safety, and now the paint has been preserved very fragmentarily.

Nevertheless, a figure molded in full ammunition of that time gives a lot of information about how the fighters of the 3rd century BC looked and dressed.

It should be noted that, in addition to ordinary soldiers, there are officers of various ranks in the army – also with full gear.

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4- Chariots, concubines and servants became part of the “army”

In case the emperor needed a solemn departure, two richly decorated chariots were buried nearby. Finally, 48 of his concubines were buried alive with him.

In this case, Qin Shi Huang clearly preferred real women to clay ones. The number of workers buried alive is known very approximately – no one bothered to count them accurately.

We can talk about thousands or even tens of thousands of people. It seems that the emperor wanted his afterlife to be as well-established and plentiful as his earthly one.

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Modern view of Qin Shi Huang’s burial mound

5- The burial complex was built on a grand scale

Work on the construction of the burial complex began shortly after Qin Shi Huangdi (then still called Ying Zheng) became the wang (i.e., monarch) of the Qin state.

Then he was 13 years old. By the time this complex was used, its area probably exceeded fifty square kilometers.

It is difficult to define it more precisely – the contouring work continues, periodically bringing new surprises.

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6- Emperor Qin Shi Huang was afraid of death

Qin Shi Huang died on September 10, 210 BC. The cause of death, according to the written sources of subsequent centuries, was the intake of pills that were supposed to make the monarch immortal.

They contained mercury.

The emperor, in general, did not want to become an inhabitant of his own tomb, and in the last years of his life he spent a lot of time and money looking for a magical elixir that bestows immortality.

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Sea expedition sent by Qin Shi Huang in search of a recipe for immortality

7- Everyone forgot about the terracotta army

The dynasty founded by the emperor was supposed to rule China for a very long time – 10 thousand generations.

However, after his death, the traditional for those times struggle for power began, during which the heirs of Qin Shi Huang were completely exterminated, his empire collapsed, and subsequent emperors had to reassemble it.

Apparently, they simply forgot about the terracotta army. Clay soldiers went into the darkness of oblivion after their master.

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Portrait of Qin Shi Huang. The degree of similarity is unknown

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