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Terra-cotta Warriors Fresh from Excavation

Terra-cotta Warriors Fresh from Excavation

Excavated terra-cotta Horses of the Pit.

Excavated terra-cotta Horses of the Pit.

The bronze, lead, pottery and wooden figurines unearthed in Hunan, Shaanxi, Henan and Hebei show that funerary figures began to appear in the period before the Qin Dynasty was founded. The use of terracotta interred around Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum reflected the cruelty of the rulers and slave-owners' psychology. "Records of the Historian," a book written by Sima Qian around 104 B.C., notes that a number of craftsmen and concubines who had not borne any children were buried alive when Qin Shi Huang was entombed. The practice of using pottery figurines and horses also served to satisfy his desire. It is only natural that the pottery figures had to be true to life.

The terracotta warriors in the museum look much the same at the first glance, because their shapes and costumes are similar in conformity with the designs for the military formations. But closer scrutiny reveals the differences in the details of their complexions, expressions, ages, hair styles and beards. Anker Joergensen, prime minister of Denmark, commented: "The terracotta warriors are so vivid and look differently from each other."

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