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Terracotta Army
  • Arguably one of China’s most famous and popular tourist sites, the Terracotta warriors (bingmayong) are among the top archaeological excavations of the 20th Century. The warriors have made Xian the big tourist destination that it is today and the wealth in this city owes much to their discovery.
    This incredible collection of 6,000 men and their horses was actually discovered completely by accident by a group of peasants in 1974 who were digging a well! In a bizarre twist, the man who supposedly discovered them now sits in a hall at the site signing postcards of the stone army. 

    The warriors are over 2000 years old and were originally constructed to protect the tomb of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. The Warriors are now housed in a huge airplane hangar and despite their fame and the throngs of tourists visiting the site, they are still incredibly impressive. These life size warriors stand on guard as if preparing for battle. Historians believe that these magnificent men were originally painted. 
    The paint has now worn and the original bronze age weapons (including swords, arrows and lances) that many of the soldiers carried only a few years ago, are now locked up away from public eyes. Although there are 6000 of the statues remaining, there were actually many more when the tomb was first built.

    It is the scale of this collection that is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the site. The Emperor must have been an incredibly influential and impressive man to deserve this great protection even when he was dead! The faces of the warriors are said to be modeled on the artists who sculpted them and on the actual Imperial Guards at the time.

    Further discoveries were made in 1976 when another 1000 warriors and various other sculptures were dug up. Archaeologists also believe that there is possibly a larger and more impressive army still buried beneath the Emperors tomb.