The Terracotta Army Museum, selected as one of Top 10 Things to Do in China, lie 1.5 km east to the Tomb of Qin First Emperor.
The Terracotta Army figures lie underground for more than 2000 years. In 1974, farmers digging a well about 1500 meters east of the tomb uncovered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. The firstly discovered site of Terracotta Army was named Vault One. In 1976, the other two vaults were uncovered 20-25 meter close to the Vault One, and were named Vault Two and Vault Three respectively. Excavation of the underground vaults of earth and timber revealed thousands of life – sized Terracotta Army in battle formation – a whole army which would accompany its emperor into immortality. The excavation was a real big shock to the whole world – the vaults are so big, the figures are so vivid and the number of the figure is so incredible.
Every figure differs from those around in facial features and expressions, clothing, hairstyle, gesture. The horsemen, the longbow bearers, the archers, the senior officers and generals were positioned in strict accordance with the ancient directives on the art of war. Many of the figures originally held real weapons of the time, such as bronze swords, longbows, arrowheads, spears, dagger-axes and other long-shaft weapons. Surface treatment of theweapons made them resistant to rust and corrosion so that after being buried for over 2000 years they were still sharp.
The Terracotta Army figures supply abundant and real objects of military, culture and economy to the study of the history of that period. The Terracotta Army figures excavation was regarded as one of the greatest discovery in the 20th century. In Dec. 1987, the UNESCO ranked the Tomb of the First Emperor (including the Terracotta Army Vaults) into the list of World Cultural Heritages. Standing in the exhibition hall, one would be shocked by such a grand ancient army formation, which will lead you back to the ancient warring situation. The tomb is a treasury for the Chinese people and for the whole world as well.
The museum mainly consists of three vaults: Terracotta Army Pit No 1. Terracotta Army Pit No 2. Terracotta Army Pit No 3 and an Exhibition of the Bronze Chariot.
Terracotta Army, Pit No.1
This vault opened to visitors in 1979. It measures about 210 meters long and 62 meters wide and the bottom of the pit varies from 4.5 meters to 6.5 meters below ground level. Ten earthen walls were built at intervals of 2.5 meters, forming 9 circling corridors. About 6000 terracotta figures of soldiersand horses face east in a rectangular array, each one either armed long spear, dragger or halberd. The vanguard appears to be three rows of infantry who stand at the easternmost end of the army. Close behind is the main force of armored soldiers holding weapons, accompanied by 38 horse-driven chariots.
On the southern, northern and western side there stand one row of figures serving as the army’s defense wing. Standing in front of such grand ancient army array, one would feel the footstep of the marching soldiers.
Terracotta Army Pit No.2
Excavated in 1976, Vault Two stands about 20 meters north to Vault One. As the highlight of the whole mausoleum, it uncovers the mystery of the ancient army array. It consists of four units, measuring 94 meters east to west and 84 meters south to north and 5 meters deep., forming a 6000 sq. meter built-up area. The first unit contains rows of kneeling and standing archers; the second one is a chariot war array; the third unit consists of mixed forces with infantry, chariot and trooper standing in rectangular array; and the last one includes numerous troopers holding weapons. The four units form a rigor battle array.
This section is at the eastern end of the pit. 60 crossbow bearers surround the main force in standing position. The main force in the middle is comprised of 160 kneeling or squatting crossbow bearers.
64 chariots were arranged in square formation with each row of eight. There are four clay horses in the front driving each chariot and in the back of each horse lines 3 soldiers.
In the middle, this section contains 19 chariots, 264 infantries and 8 cavalrymen in rectangular array in 3 rows. In front of each horse stands one cavalry soldiers, one hand pulling the bridle rein while the other drawing the bow. 8-36 infantry soldiers were set to the back of each horse in addition to 3 drivers.
In the left of the army, 108 cavalry soldiers and 180 pottery horses were arranged in rectangular array in 11 rows.