The Terra Cotta Army

The Terracotta Army is an ancient collection of sculptures which depict the armies of Qin Shi Huang who was the first Chinese emperor. It is believed that the statues were buried with the emperor to protect him in the afterlife. Located in the dry area of Shaanxi province,Terracotta is regarded as one of the greatest historical sites in the world. In fact, UNESCO recognizes it as one of the World Heritage Site. Read on to
understand why Terracotta was built, how it was discovered and its structural layout.


The history of the Terracotta revolves around the first emperor of China who led his people in a series of battles. Since people had strong beliefs on life after death, they thought that it was wise for the emperor to be guarded even in the afterlife.This prompted them to mold an army that will still be there to give the emperor full protection against his adversaries. The hand-molded army strikes several similarities with the real military that he had used during his lifetime.

Apart from providing protection, the army was also built to keep fine memories of the military that he had led to victories over other rival nations and also united the people of China. It is important to note that years before, rulers in China were buried alongside their workers and top officials. Terracotta army was designed to replace the real human sacrifice.

The model soldiers were built using bare hands. No other sophisticated tool was used to do the job. Since it was manual labor, more than 7000 skilled artisans were involved in executing this task. It is estimated that the job took over 40 years to be completed.This explains why the sculptures have elegant and unique features. To ensure that the job was done perfectly, each warrior had a stamp bearing the name of the artisan who worked on it. This made it easier for the authorities to track those who did a shoddy job.

How Terracotta army was discovered

Terracotta army was discovered in 1974 by a small group of peasants who were digging a well in the area. In the process, they found a clay model of a soldier who is ready for a battle. They alerted the local authority which dispatched a team of government archaeologists to the area. A deeper search unearthed thousands of clay soldiers who had similar facial expressions and body poses. Later on, swords,bronze chariots, and other ancient ammunition were also discovered at the site.

Layout of Terracotta Army

Terracotta has four underground pits which are named Pit 1 up to Pit 4 depending on the order of discovery. However, Pit 4 is yet to
be excavated meaning that it is still empty. Other pits have the same structure whereby they consist of earth and wood materials. However, each pit has a unique layout. The museum features five distinct sloping passages that have visible trails of wheels leading to the pits. The roof of the pit is made of wood and reinforced with solid rafters. Each pit in the museum is covered by layers of fiber mats and earth.