Interesting facts about the Terracotta Warriors

terracotta army

The Terracotta Army is a part of a massive burial tomb built for Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.

Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210 BC) spent much of his life searching for immortality and built himself a tomb complex that encompassed 50 km² (20 mi²).

There are over 8,000 life size statues of soldiers buried along with the emperor.

There were also 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses in the tomb.

terracotta army chariot

Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.

The soldiers average around 1.8 meters (5 feet 11 inches) tall with some soldiers being as tall as 2 meters (6 foot 7 inches).

Despite there being so many statues, no two soldiers are exactly alike. There are soldiers of all ages with different ranks, facial features, and hair styles. Some of the soldiers look calm, while others look angry and ready to fight.

terra cotta face

The soldiers were even designed with different clothing and armor. Men from the cavalry are dressed different than foot soldiers. Some soldiers don’t have armor.

The bronze weapons of the soldiers were found in excellent condition because they were coated with a thin layer of chromium which protected them for thousands of years.

There are four main pits that house the army. They are around 6,5 meters (21 feet) deep.


The Terracotta Army was discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974, over 2,000 years after it was covered over during the burial of Emperor Qin.

The archaeological site where the imperial burial site was discovered was labeled a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987.

Historians now believe that some 700,000 workers worked for nearly three decades on the mausoleum.


Even 40 years after its discovery, less than 1 percent of Emperor Qin’s tomb has been excavated. Initial fears of damaging the corpse and the artifacts within the tomb later gave way to concerns about the potential safety hazards involved with excavation.

Most of the statues were found broken into many pieces which archeologists have been carefully putting back together for many years.

The horses in the army are saddled. This shows that the saddle had been invented by the time of the Qin Dynasty.

Grinding and polishing marks visible under a scanning electron microscope provide evidence for the earliest industrial use of lathes for polishing.

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