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Terracotta Warriors

SOLDIER OF FORTUNE One of the exhibition’s star attractions is this life-size armoured infantryman

Somewhere beneath the beautiful mountains of Shaanxi Province, in central China, stand thousands of imposing (albeit very fragile) warrior statues, made purely of terracotta. For more than 2,000 years, they have been keeping watch, silently guarding the tomb of their master. Some have picked up a few war wounds over time, but the army remains extraordinarily well preserved.

Constructed in their thousands, these clay figures were intended to protect the first emperor of unified China, Qin Shi Huang, in the eternal afterlife. When he died in 210 BC, he was buried in a massive subterranean complex, the largest burial site on Earth. When built, this forbidden palace and city was shrouded in secrecy, so that only legends of the Emperor’s tomb and his terracotta army survived the ages, as nature took its course and reclaimed the site.

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BBC History Revealed Magazine
February 2018

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