Lottery Winner Travels – Visiting China’s Terracotta Warriors
Lottery players will love hearing about one of the strangest discoveries ever made.
For history enthusiasts and lottery players who love exploring ancient cultures in their travels, The Lottery Centre’s weird and wonderful series continues with a trip to one of the most significant and sensational archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. It is also perhaps one of the most unusual.
Thousands of life size models made from terracotta of soldiers, horses and chariots standing guard ready for battle. Eerie and fascinating, we take our readers to China this week and to the UNESCO world heritage site of The Terracotta Warriors and Horses.
What are the Terracotta Warriors?
A visit to China would not be complete with seeing the Terracotta Army, or officially named The Qin Tomb Terracotta Warriors and Horses. It is a collection of thousands of life size sculptures made from terracotta that were found buried in underground pits. They depict in vivid detail an army of soldiers, horses and chariots standing guard and ready for battle.
Each soldier differs in facial features, height, expression, clothing, hairstyle and gestures according to their rank. They were originally painted in bright colours of red, green, pink, blue, white, lilac, brown and black with a lacquer finish. Each life size model would have looked very real at the time. Today, most of the colour has greatly faded or now come off completely leaving the figures with a grey appearance.
They had weapons too. Many of the figures held real weapons such as longbows, arrows, spears, bronze swords and dagger-axes. The weapons, such as the swords were treated with layers of chromium dioxide. This made them stay sharp and rust free even after being buried for over 2000 years.
Why were they made?
The creation of the army was ordered by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang in 210-209 BCE. It was meant to display his strength and triumph over the other warring states of China and to protect him in the afterlife, a complete army positioned in grand ancient formation into immortality. During his rule, Emperor Qin built roads and canals, unified warring kingdoms, standardized coins and measures and started the first part of the Great Wall of China.
When were they discovered?
In 1974, local farmers in the Shaanxi province were digging for a water well when they discovered some pieces of pottery. After contacting the Chinese government, archaeologists descended upon the site immediately and began an excavation. Three pits were discovered, the first in 1974 and the last two in 1976 just 20 meters away. The sites offer great study into the military history of that time. Estimates suggest that the three pits contained more than 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. Most of these remain unexcavated near the royal tomb. Other figures found in other pits include acrobats, officials and musicians.
A museum now sits on the site, which consists of the three pits and The Exhibition Hall of the Bronze Chariots.
What can you see inside the Museum?
Pit One –This is the largest (the size of an airplane hangar) and most impressive. The bottom of the pit is about 6 meters below ground level with 10 walls built forming 9 circling corridors. There are 2000 warriors on display, although almost 6000 figures of soldiers and horses are believed to be in the original pit. All face east. There is the vanguard of three rows of archers with crossbows, followed by the armored soldiers with daggers and swords, and then the infantry with 38 horse drawn chariots.
Pit Two – The second pit consists of four units forming a battle array. The first with rows of kneeling and standing archers, the second a chariot war array, the third of troopers, infantry and chariots standing in rectangular array, and the fourth with troopers holding weapons.
Pit Three – This is the smallest pit, which represents the army headquarters. There are 68 figures, all officials and many without heads.
Bronze Chariots – Discovered 20 meters from the royal tomb of Qin are two extraordinary restored bronze chariots each with four horses. The horses were made of bronze with gold and silver ornaments. These chariots boast to be the biggest bronzeware pieces ever found.
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