The Terra-cotta

Terra-cotta1Another indication of the probable magnitude and grandeur of the not-yet-excavated mauso-leum is the vaults contain-ing an army of guards for the first emperor which have been discovered 1,500 metresto the east of the tomb. Commune members digging an irrigation well made the first discovery by chance in 1974 of what is now called Vault No. l. huge underground chamber containing.Six thousand terracotta sokliereand their horses and chariots, as grand as Qin Shi Huang’s actual conquering army. This is the most important revelation in recent Chinesearehaeology,both for its vast scale and for the realistic detail and aesthetic achievement of The buried seulpiures. Though Vault No.1 is called avault or pit, it actually con-sists of a series of eleven parallel subterranean cor-ridors (each about three metres wide, Terra-cotta2three metres high,and over two hundred metres long) in which the columns of warriors were arrayed. The entire vault is 63 metres wide, and occupies an area of l4,260 square metres (3.5 acres). The floor is paved in brick, 5 metres below soil level. Wooden pillars and roofing planks provided support for the earthen walls and covering, though the vault col-laped and was filled in when it was raided by looters at the time of the fall of the Qin Dynasty 206 B.C.The weapons and armor of the infantrymen vary according to their placament in the carefully designed military formation.

Terra-cotta3In May 1976 a second underground complex of warriors, called Vanlt No.2, was discovered twenty metres to the north of Vault No.l This led to the uncovcring of Vault No.3, quite close to the first two pits. The ottrer vaults are all smaller than Vault No.l Vault No.2 contains approximately l,4O0 cavalrymen and horses with a more complex layout than No.l. Bronze Chariots from the Qin Cemetery. Terra-cotta4Two bronze chariots were unearthed from the western side of the Qin Cemetery in 1980. Each chariot has four bronze horses and a bronze figure driver. Its size is about half of a modern combination of a man, a carriage and four horses. Its carriage cab and bronze horses are richly ornamented with very exquisite craftsmanship.

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