Gallery: Ancient Chinese Warriors Protect Secret Tomb
By Clara Moskowitz |
An army of clay warriors guards the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who died in 210 BC. The tomb is still under excavation near Xi'an, China.
Nine life-size statues are on display at the Terracotta Warrior exhibition at New York City’s Discovery Times Square. China lets only 10 of the warriors leave the country at any given time.
Emperor Qin Shi Huang was buried with everything he needed for the afterlife, including an army complete with life-size clay horses.
This terracotta warrior is thought to represent a general who would have commanded the footsoldiers.
Thousands of Warriors
About 2,000 terracotta soldiers have been excavated from Qin Shi Huang's tomb so far, but archaeologists say there could be a total of around 8,000.
Bureaucrat for the Afterlife
The first Qin emperor needed not just soldiers, but bureaucrats like this one, to run his kingdom in the afterlife.
Even the horses in the massive terracotta army were each unique; no two were alike.
Terracotta Soldier's Armor
Even though they number in the thousands, each terracotta soldier has painstakingly detailed armor, facial features, hair and clothing.
Wildlife for the Afterlife
The ancient emperor's afterlife wouldn't be complete without a menagerie of animals to populate his pleasure grounds.
These clay statues stood undisturbed for more than two millennia before being discovered by Chinese farmers in 1974.
Clara has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written for both Space.com and Live Science.