China plans to reveal more terra cotta warriors China's Qin Terra-Cotta warriors, made using local clay (AP photos)
China plans to reveal more terra cotta warriors
Lexile

China is expanding the ranks of the famed Terra Cotta Warrior army with new excavations. They are expected to yield hundreds more of the ancient life-size figures.

The museum overseeing the vast mausoleum of China's first emperor says it began work March 30. The work is on the tomb's No. 2 pit. It is smaller in scale but believed to be richer in archaeological value than the already excavated No. 1 pit.

Along with 1,400 warrior and horse statues, the pit is believed to contain 89 war chariots and 116 mounted soldiers. They offer invaluable insights into the military culture of the Qin dynasty. That is according to the museum website.

"The No. 2 pit contains the true essence of the Terra Cotta army," the museum's former curator was quoted as saying.

The Terra Cotta army was discovered in 1974. It has become one of China's biggest tourist draws. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The warriors have joined the giant panda as a tool of Chinese "soft power." Several batches are being exhibited overseas to enthusiastic crowds.

The army was built to guard the tomb of the first Qin emperor. His name was Qin Shi Huang. He died in 210 A.D. During his lifetime, he conquered much of what is now modern China.

In all, the tomb contains three pits. They are thought to hold more than 8,000 figures. Archers, infantry soldiers, mounted cavalry, horse-drawn chariots, officers, acrobats, musicians and others are included.

The third pit is adjacent to the emperor's sprawling mausoleum. It lies under a 250-foot mound. It remains un-excavated as experts debate the pros and cons of doing so.

Ancient accounts tell of a huge complex of chambers. Included are underground rivers filled with flowing mercury. There are also the remains of craftsmen and imperial concubines. They were sealed alive in the tomb with the dead emperor.

The Terra Cotta statues weigh about 400 pounds each. They range in height from 6 feet to 6 feet 5 inches depending on rank. Generals are the tallest.

The statues originally were brightly painted. They are intricately detailed with armor, top knots, weapons and boots. No two figures are alike. Craftsmen are believed to have modeled them after a real army.

A ruthless figure of fear and awe in Chinese history, Qin built an extensive system of roads and canals along with an early incarnation of the Great Wall of China. He unified measurements and established a single written language, currency and legal statutes.

Critical thinking challenge: Why is the army made of terra cotta?

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COMMENTS (34)
  • Ukyo-Kut
    5/18/2015 - 11:19 a.m.

    Wait why is China unveiling more , shouldn't they reveal them all at the same time? They are not secrets or anything. but the teracotta soldiers are pretty cool and unique.

  • AndreasG-Kut
    5/18/2015 - 11:46 a.m.

    i think there will be tons of warriors because right now there are thausands imagine what is going to happen when they find more and then what are we going to be doing to the warriors.

  • OliverC709
    5/18/2015 - 04:54 p.m.

    This is a neat coincidence because I am studying this in social studies. There are over 7,000 Terracotta warriors and now there will be more. I can't wait to see them.

  • kevik-4
    5/18/2015 - 07:19 p.m.

    In this section it talks about the Qin dynasty and the Terra Cotta warrior. The Terra Cotta warrior was made during the Qin dynasty to represent a real warrior, the generals were taller than the warriors. The Terra Cotta warriors was painted pretty colors but the pant wore off over time so you can not see it anymore. It was found in 1974 and it is one of the most main tourist attractions in China. There are 1,400 warrior and horse statues. I think that is pretty cool that that was found and that exists. I think now that I have read this I kind of want to go see that sight.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    5/18/2015 - 08:36 p.m.

    I think that it is cool for citizens in China to reveal the army that guarded the tomb which people thought that the army that the army that they are guarding is actually real, but the army which guarded is actually made out of terra cotta which makes the statue of the army to not break for a very very long time. If China is going to reveal the tomb of the emperor which lived a long time ago, I think that the citizens are going to reveal the body of the emperor also the tomb of terr cotta-made army guarding the entrance of the tomb.
    CTC: Why is the army made of terra cotta?
    Answer: The army are made out of terr cotta so that if the statue of he huge army are made out of terra cotta so that the army may last for a really long time.

  • Ethangh-Par
    5/19/2015 - 08:17 a.m.

    craftsman are expected to make at least a couple hundred more terra cotta soldiers in China. No two soldiers are alike.i thought that was interesting

  • Estella-Par
    5/19/2015 - 08:26 a.m.

    This story is about how China plans to excavate the Terra Cotta army. I read the question about 'Why?' So I thought carefully and this is my answer: They made Terra Cotta warriors to be intimidating. Why Terra Cotta? I think they chose Terra Cotta because it was not as expensive. Also Terra Cotta might have been plentiful somewhere in China. Also you can make amazing things with Terra Cotta. That is my answer to the "Critical Thinking Challenge"

  • ChrisRRojo
    5/19/2015 - 12:05 p.m.

    i really find this amazing. I studied this in 6th grade. he probably has a gigantic army that is protecting him from the evil demons or something like that.

  • JennyGRed
    5/19/2015 - 01:54 p.m.

    I think that these are awesome, and I would like to go and see them one day. It is also really cool that they made so many of these warriors, then just... barred them, but I suppose it had things to do with religion and afterlife, right? Anyway, I wish I could see what they looked like when they were painted, because I think that would look pretty cool. Also, I wonder how long it took to make them, though people have an estimate, I want to know how long it REALLY took to build them.

  • 15Q4peluche15
    5/19/2015 - 02:02 p.m.

    It is amazing that the first Qin Emperor built a clay army. The cotta army is 6 feet tall and they built The Great Wall of china when he was alive.

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