Lone Warrior

Terracotta warrior, Xi'an, China

Xi'an, one of the oldest cities in China, is home to the Terracotta Army (兵马俑) also known as the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. This collection of terracotta sculptures depicts the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China. The unearthed figures, dating from 210 BC, represent only a small portion of the eight thousand strong underground army buried in front of the tomb of the First Qin Emperor (秦始皇) to defend him in the afterlife. The craftsmanship attested by each of the statues is as stupendous as the scale of the project. The terracotta army figures were manufactured in workshops by government laborers and by local craftsmen. The head, arms, legs and torsos were created separately and then assembled. Studies show that eight face moulds were most likely used, and then clay was added to provide individual facial features. Once assembled, intricate features such as facial expressions were added. Upon completion, the terracotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty. The terracotta figures are life-sized. They vary in height, uniform and hairstyle in accordance with rank. The coloured lacquer finish, individual facial features, and actual weapons and armor from battle used in manufacturing these figures created a realistic appearance. Robbers stole the original weapons shortly after the creation of the army and the colouring has faded greatly.

Sign up for Scott's newsletter