Good Example Of Essay On Terracotta Army

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: China, History, Army, Armed Forces, Terracotta, Veterans, World, Tomb

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/18

China is a country with an ancient and rich history dating many hundreds of years before our era. This country is decorated with hundreds of imperial palaces, ancient Buddhist temples and various other historical monuments. Historical monuments there are combined with modern buildings, which shows a strong development of China today. Today, in the literal sense, worth to dig a little deeper to discover all the new and unexplored evidences of the heyday times of ancient Chinese civilization. One of the greatest and most amazing discoveries in Chinese history was finding the tomb of Emperor Shi Huang Di and his terracotta army. In order to trace the significance of this finding and its contribution to the knowledge of Chinese civilization of that time, we need to investigate the events of this discovery from the beginning.
2000 years of the existence of the terracotta army, no one knew about it until 1974. This discovery was made by Sian peasants, who went to Mount Lishan. Because of the strong drought in their surroundings, they tried to dig a well to get access to fresh water. However, they were not able to find it. Instead of the water, they discovered one of the greatest findings in the world. At first, they found 2-meter clay statue of a man with a spear in his hand. Vintage hairstyle as a node on the crown, but most of all a bronze spear allowed archeologists to assign a figure to antiquity. Since then, the excavations of the tomb of the First Emperor of China began.
Qin Shi Huang is known in history as overbearing and cruel, but a wise ruler. He took the throne when he was 14 years old. Before he turned 20 he was helped by the regent. While his reign he had realized two grand projects. Firstly, he combined six scattered small states, on which at that time China was divided, and in 221 BC created a vast empire. For the first time, China has become united, and Shi Huang took the title of "First Emperor". Secondly, the emperor joined the already existing fortifications and subjecting them to a single concept, built the Great Wall of China. In addition, Shi Huang Di was known for developing China's economic policies, creating unique writings and China's monetary policy. He initiated a system of rules that allowed to obtain the right to land ownership and private ownership. He created merciless laws to punish separatists. Shi Huang believed that his dynasty would rule forever and wanted to live as long as possible. Emperor spent a lot of time and effort in search of the elixir of immortality and died before reaching the age of 50 years. However, he managed to build his own tomb, and 1.5 km to the east of it buried "military camp", consisting of terracotta soldiers. Originally, Shi Huang was going to bury alive 4,000 soldiers to guard the wealth in China as a mausoleum, but such a barbaric act could cause popular indignation. Then the emperor ordered to make a clay army that will accompany him in the afterlife. After the death of the emperor, about 70 thousand servants and workers with their families were buried alive with him. Chinese army in this sense was spared. Copies of his soldiers were sculpted in order to protect Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. Warriors were made from local clay mixture. Each warrior figure was made masterful: it was not only skillfully reproduced uniforms of fighters. Each Terracotta warrior has its unique face and hairstyle. Historians believe that real people were models for them. Almost all the statues were endowed with a broad forehead, large mouth with thick lips, most of them have a short mustache and look like today's inhabitants of the province of Shaanxi, the appearance of which had not changed in 22 centuries.
As it turned out, the emperor was accompanied in another world not with 6, as previously assumed, but 8000 clay soldiers. Hands were made of wood, figures dressed in silk. Time has turned soft materials into the dust, but the scientists were able to examine the fragments. None of the soldiers was not like the other; they differed with facial expressions - thoughtful, quiet, rigorous, and severe.
Intended for underground battles, Shi Huang clay bodyguards were carrying measuring cups for corn, triangular arrowheads, bronze coins, i.e. all the things needed in the campaign. Their spears, swords, bows, as well as bronze harness horses, were not sculpture, but real military weapons: archeologists wounded their hands, touching the sharp blades of swords. Wooden bows eventually decayed, but swords, spears and crossbows survived. Figure slender columns of infantry were placed in a huge tomb. Perfectly preserved statues surprise with correct proportions, and each of them has individual features.
This army presented infantry, archers and equestrians with clay horses. Scientists think that a big part of the weapons from the tomb had been stolen during the insurrection of the peasants during centuries. Except the statues of warriors, there were also found statues of civilians – musicians, officials and other. Wooden chariots had been in service with the Chinese army also, but they did not survive.
Clay warriors from the tomb of Shi Huang ought to protect his lord forever and always be ready to fight. Nevertheless, sculptors depicted army relaxed but willing to restructure in order of battle with the first strike of the bell.
Most of the clay soldiers look to the east, some are straight, others knelt down, took out their sword, to repel the attacks. Height of ordinary soldiers ranges from 1.75 to 1.85 m; commanders are slightly higher, that expresses their superiority in rank. Moreover, the difference in the status is shown in clothing. Commanders are dressed in tunics with belts and costumes similar to the uniforms. The lower ranking soldiers were dressed in a short, tapering pants. Common soldier is also easily distinguished by short bathrobe, breastplate armor and distinctive hairstyles as a tight topknot. Their footwear is typical of ancient Chinese: winding shoes with square toes. Commanders could afford jewelry and beautiful metal breastplates. Their feet shod in boots, and hair is hidden by high hat.
In the second underground gallery located about 20 m below the first, archeologists had discovered 1,400 clay warriors and horses stand alone. These figures are significantly different from those, which were in the upper chamber. The last 68 figures that were found in the room past the third level were in the image of the commander and his retinue. The high rank of the captain gave him spectacular scaly armor, sprinkled with precious stones. Bowmen standing around were wearing short robes and identical bibs, but were holding various types of weapons - bows or crossbows.
Appearance and further analysis confirmed by the technique of the production of the sculptures. During their manufacture, statues were subjected to heat treatment. Symbolic warriors of Qin Shi Huang were made of terracotta - material spread around the world by Italian potters. The term «terra cotta» includes two concepts: “earth”, “clay” (terra) and “roasting” (cotta). In art, it was used to refer to objects of yellow or red unglazed clay, firing of the statues took place in a special oven. In finished form, such things have a characteristic color, otherwise known as terracotta, hue that combines pink, orange and light brown color.
All statues were found with a hollow body and solid limbs - probably Chinese masters first performed as the torso of the figure. Whole head and arms fastened after firing, which continues for several days in an oven where the temperature did not drop below 1000° C. After such treatment, the clay became hard as granite. After finishing work on the body, master covered the head with a thin layer of clay and sculpted face, trying to give personality to each warrior. The difficult problem was solved by the ancient sculptors, giving each of the 8,000 soldiers its unique style, adhering to the accuracy of the details of clothes and weapons. Initially, all the statues were shining with bright colors. The paint disappeared eventually, although the natural beauty of the material was discovered.
After 22 centuries after the death of the Emperor, his clay warriors became the property of the art of the world, taking pride place in the museum. The huge indoor complex erected on the site of the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, today exhibits unique items related to the history of ancient China. Opening terracotta army turned provincial Xian into a popular tourist center. Yet only the upper gallery is opened for viewing, more precisely, the pit, where a significant portion of the detected shapes is situated.
Today The Terracotta army is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, which is included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Finding Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di is incredibly important for the history of the world and China itself. Besides this incredible chance to be acquainted with amazing skills of manufacturing of the army. The accuracy and detail of statues of soldiers tell us a lot about the development of art, sculpture and architecture of this period. This finding helps us to learn more about customs and traditions, funeral rites and their way of life of ancient Chinese. In addition, we can also learn their appearance of this period: clothing, jewelry and accessories. The finding in the province of Xian is of great historical significance. It gives us an opportunity to learn about how the ancient Chinese army was equipped. Terracotta Army provides numerous detailed artifacts to study. It can help the historians to study the history of military affairs, culture and economy of the period. The discovery of the Terracotta Army was one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. Tomb of the First Emperor and the Terracotta Army is a treasure of the Chinese people and all mankind.


Harold Miles Tanner, China: A history. (Indianapolis, In: Hackett Publishing Company Ltd, 2009), pp. 87-92
Anita M. Andrew, John A. Rapp. Autocracy and China's Rebel Founding Emperors. (Boston: Rowman&Littlefield Publishers, Ltd., 2010), pp. 20-22
Michael Capek, Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Army. (Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., 2008), pp. 54-70
Michael Capek, Secrets of the Terracotta Army: Tomb of an Ancient Chinese Emperor. (Minneapolis, MN: Capstone Press, 2015), pp. 4-10
Maurice Cotterel, The Terracotta Warriors: The Secret Codes of the Emperor's Army (London, UK: Headline Book Publishing, 2003), pp. 99-119

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