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International > The picture of the week > The Terracotta Army of the first Chinese Emperor near Xi'an

Picture of the week (No.14): The Terracotta Army of the first Chinese Emperor near Xi'an.                         Share

Each week (actually about 2 or 3 times a month), Willgoto selects here a nice picture. The Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang near Xi'an, China, is the theme of the fourteenth photo of this series.
The discovery of about 8,000 terracotta statues of soldiers and horses, buried near the tomb of the first Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC) in the vicinity of Xi'an, in 1974, is a major archaeological discovery of the 20th century. The whole site, known as Mausoleum of Emperor Qin, is part of the world heritage listed by UNESCO.

The terracotta army of Emperor Qin near Xi'an
The terracotta army of Emperor Qin near Xi'an, China.

Qin Shi Huang, originally King of the state of Qin (currently the Chinese province of Shaanxi), conquered the other Chinese kingdoms in the third century B.C. and became the first Chinese Emperor. The Qin dynasty was short-lived. But it marks the beginning of the Chinese imperial era, which lasted under different dynasties until 1912 when, as a result of the Xinhai revolution, the Republic of China was proclaimed. According to many experts, the name China would derive from Qin.

Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified weights and measures, currency and writing in China. He undertook major works and, among other things, by connecting sections of existing walls, he created the first Great Wall of China. Victim of a series of assassination attempts, he became obsessed with his own immortality and, more precisely, by searching for an elixir of immortality. He died in 210 BC during one of his inspection trips through his empire.

The tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang is located near the Chinese city of Xi'an and is covered with a 115 m high mound. In the vicinity of this tomb, farmers first, archaeologists then discovered an army made up of 8,000 terracotta soldiers and horses in the 1970s. This army aimed at protecting the deceased emperor. The life-size statues have been designed with great detail and each has a different face. The site, which includes several excavation pits, spreads over more than 50 square kilometers.

Countless tourists who travel to China visit this exceptional attraction. In order to enable more people to see this wonder, temporary exhibitions were devoted to the terracotta army in various parts of the world, including Australia (1983 and 2010), at the British Museum in London (September 2007 - April 2008), the Pinacothèque de Paris (April - September 2008), and in Canada (at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2010 and the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal in 2011). In 2017 (until April 23), reproductions of some statues of the terracotta army that have been certified by the Chinese authorities are presented in an exhibition at the prestigious Guillemins railway station in Liège, Belgium.

Everywhere, these exhibitions aroused great public enthusiasm. The exhibition at the British Museum, for example, welcomed 850 000 visitors.

You may also want to see these other pictures from China:





See also:
Picture of the week 1: Bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world. It is endemic to Cuba.
Picture of the week 2: Pagoda of the Golden Rock in Myanmar. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world.
Picture of the week 3: Seychelles beach. Seychelles is a perfect destination for a dream holiday.
Picture of the week 4: Lemur of Madagascar (Coquerel's sifaka), an endangered species of primates, which, like all other species of lemurs, is endemic to Madagascar.
Picture of the week 5: World heritage in Cambodia. The temple of Banteay Srei, better known as 'Citadel of the women', in Cambodia is a jewel of Khmer art and a world heritage site.
Picture of the week 6: Bull shark and tiger shark. Both sharks are unfortunately known for fatal attacks on humans. However, experienced divers can approach them and swim with them.
Picture of the week 7: Firewalking in Mauritius. Walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers is an ancestral religious practice.
Picture of the week 8: The flower carpet of the Grand Place in Brussels. This carpet made up of about a million cut flowers is a tourist attraction that takes place every two years.
Picture of the week 9: Giant oceanic manta rays. Video and pictures. The giant oceanic manta ray is a particularly impressive ray that can be up to 7 meters wide and weigh up to two tons.
Picture of the week 10: Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Réunion is a dream destination particularly for all outdoor activities, such as hiking, canyoning, paragliding, and many more.
Picture of the week 11: Beaches of Cambodia. Sihanoukville and the small islands off that beach resort offer wonderful opportunities for beach holidays.
Picture of the week 13: Holidays in Cape Verde. Pictures from a beach in Boa Vista and a mountain village in Santo Antão. The Islands of the archipelago of Cape Verde are indeed very different from each other.
Picture of the week 14: Mountain gorilla in Uganda. The gorillas, the bonobos, and the chimpanzees are the closest living beings to human beings. There are only 600 mountain gorillas in the whole world.

See  all our "Pictures of the week".



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The terracotta army of about 8,000 statues of soldiers and horses, buried near the tomb of the first Chinese Emperor, known as Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, near Xi'an is part of the world heritage listed by UNESCO.