Gallery: Ancient Chinese Warriors Protect Secret Tomb

Terracotta Warrior

Terracotta warrior from Qin Shi Huang's tomb

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience)

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.

NYC Exhibition

Terracotta warrior from Qin Shi Huang's tomb

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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.

Terracotta Horse

Horse from Terracotta Warriors exhibition

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience)

Emperor Qin Shi Huang was buried with everything he needed for the afterlife, including an army complete with life-size clay horses.

Stone General

Terracotta warrior from Qin Shi Huang's tomb

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience)

This terracotta warrior is thought to represent a general who would have commanded the footsoldiers.

Thousands of Warriors

Terracotta warrior from Qin Shi Huang's tomb

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience)

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

Terracotta bureaucrat from Qin Shi Huang's tomb

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience)

The first Qin emperor needed not just soldiers, but bureaucrats like this one, to run his kingdom in the afterlife.

Stone Horse

ancient Chinese terracotta horse

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com)

Even the horses in the massive terracotta army were each unique; no two were alike.

Terracotta Soldier's Armor

Terracotta warrior from Qin Shi Huang's tomb

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience)

Even though they number in the thousands, each terracotta soldier has painstakingly detailed armor, facial features, hair and clothing.

Wildlife for the Afterlife

Ancient Chinese stone animal

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The ancient emperor's afterlife wouldn't be complete without a menagerie of animals to populate his pleasure grounds.

Shocking Find

Terracotta warrior from Qin Shi Huang's tomb

(Image credit: Clara Moskowitz/LiveScience)

These clay statues stood undisturbed for more than two millennia before being discovered by Chinese farmers in 1974.