Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum locates in Lin Tong District, around 30 kilometers east to downtown Xi’an. This museum is the largest ancient military museum in China. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses is also ranked in the most great archaeological discoveries in the world of the 20th century. It is honored as “The Eighth Wonder of the World”.

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As part of funerary pits of the mausoleum, pits of Terracotta Warriors and Horses were set 1500 meters east to Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. From the year 1974 on, these funerary pits were gradually discovered and excavated. With the excavation of the terracotta figures, the deep-burred precious deposits from 2000- year-ago Qin Dynasty pass through time and reveal their real faces to modern people. In 1975, Chinese government decided to build a museum upon the terracotta figures pits. On Oct 1st 1979 the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum was finally open to visitors home and abroad. All of the three uncovered terracotta figures pits face east, being arranged in a top and twin-side method. According to discovering time, the three pits are named Pit One, Pit Two, and Pit Three respectively.

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Pit One is the first discovered and also the biggest pit of three. In March 1974, when today’s place of interest was still countryside, local peasants found some unexpected solid fragments of terracotta soldiers when they dig a well. Those fragments scared peasants deadly because their superstitious belief told them they had hurt the God of Earth. While a few days later, some peasants reported it to the local government. The government responded by setting a group of archeologists to the well site in mid July 1974. As a result, Pit One was excavated. This pit takes a quadrate shape, 230 meters long from east to west, 62 meters wide from south to north, and 5meters deep from pit bottom to ground. Within the area of 14,260 m2 the pit houses over 8,000 terracotta figures. In the east end of the pit stand 210 soldier figures in battle robes. They are vanguards. To the opposite end, Other 204 soldiers in battle robes were distributed, functioning as the rare guards. The middle part of the pit is the body of whole army array. If one watches carefully, he will find the hair style, appearances, bodily forms, countenances, eyebrows, eyes, and ages of one soldier are all different from these of the others.

In April 1976, the archaeological team found Pit Two on the northeast part of Pit One. It is an L-shaped pit, 96meters long from east end to west end, 84meters wide from south to north, covering an area of some 6,000m2. Pit Two is a special corps consisting of cavalry, war chariots and infantry (including shooting soldiers). The inside troops can be divided into four units. Unit one lines on the east end of the pit. This unit has 160 kneeling shooter figures arranged in eight rows inside and 60 standing shooter figures on four outer sides. Unit two guards the right side of Pit Two. It is a square array consists of 64 war chariots. The wooden chariots had already decayed but the marks of wheels are still visible. Unit three is set in the middle part of Pit Two. This rectangle-shaped unit includes 19 war chariots, 264 infantryman figures, and 8 cavalryman figures. Unit four is in the left side of the pit. 108 cavalryman figures and 180 terracotta pommel horses were arranged in 11 transverse lines make up a rectangle cavalry troop. The four units of Pit Two can both fight together and fight on its own way. If fighting together, the combined force can smash any enemy; if fighting separately, each arm can shock enemy with its unique advantage.


In May 1976, Pit Three was discovered in a purposive detection. Pit Three is 25 meters north to Pit One and 120 meters west to Pit Two. This pit covers an area of some 520m2, equaling 1/27 of Pit One’s area. Pit Three takes a concave shape, including one west-wing room, one east wing-room and one chariot-and-horse room. The basic layout of Pit Three looks much like headquarter of Pit One and Pit Two. The terracotta figures in first two Pits are all arranged in line of battle, but those of Pit Three are not. One the other hand, the weapons held by soldiers of Pit Three are not war-oriented but honor-oriented. Weapons of pits One and Two include bows and arrows for long-distance killing, spears for close fight. While the only weapons from Pits Three is free from sharp edge. This kind of weapon is especially made and used for honor in Qin Dynasty. Moreover, in north wing-room, a relic of antler and some remains of animals were found. That shows this is a place for battle divination. The three Pits make up a huge military system. It’s a vivid reappearance of ancient military rank for battle, and also a reduced copy of real army troops of Qin Dynasty.

Besides the terracotta figures, two set of large-scale colored bronze chariot-and-horses were unearthed 20 meters west to the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in December 1980. Like the way naming the terracotta figure pits, the two chariots are called Chariot one and Chariot Two according to the time of discovering. The two chariots were both damaged badly because of wooden parts decaying and earth collapsing when they were unearthed. After two and half years’ hard work by archeological personal, the two chariots were repaired and restored. Chariot Two started its public display from Oct. 1, 1983, and Chariot One was put on display in 1988. Chariot One is the “high chariot” of ancient time, it is drove by a general, functioning as the protection of the seated chariot behind it. The Chariot Two follows Chariot One. It consists of driving cell in the front and seating cell in the later part. The two cells are separated with a fixed board. The driver sits in driving cell and the master in seating cell. Chariot Two has an umbrella-like canopy above it. This Chariot should be the imperial chariot that Emperor Qin Shi Hung sits in his travels. These bronze chariots are the earliest in time, most rich in equipment, highest in rank, and most exquisite in workmanship. And they are also the largest bronzes found in the world.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses

The terracotta warriors and horses and the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang have been listed in World Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO. They are the pride of Chinese people, a masterpiece of ancient Eastern culture, and also a precious cultural treasure of humankind.