Terracotta Warriors

The famous Terracotta Army was made of over 7000 soldiers of different rank, 600 horses, and 100 chariots made of clay in natural size.

The purpose of this army was to defend Emperor Shi Huangdi, the founder of the Qin dynasty, his mausoleum and tomb in Shaanxi Province in central China.

Huangdi did not invent terracotta soldiers – previous rulers had them too. The difference is that they had two or three soldiers at the entrance of their tombs, and Shi Huangdi had a whole army.
Terracotta Warrior

The terracotta warrior figures are life-sized or bigger (1.8-1.9 meters). Their height, uniform, and even hair style vary, depending on the rank of each individual soldier.

There are ten basic face shapes, but generally, the artisans obviously did their best to create an illusion of individuality on each figure.
Terracotta Army Officer

There were several types of terracotta warriors:

  • Unarmored infantrymen;
  • Armored warriors;
  • Cavalrymen wearing a pillbox hat;
  • Drivers of chariots with helmets and more armor protection;
  • Charioteers with spears;
  • Armored archers in a kneeling position
  • Unarmored standing archers;
  • Officers and generals.

However, the warriors of the same rank were not necessarily dressed the same. Some of them were accompanied by horses.

The warrior figures were originally painted with bright pigments – including red, green, pink, blue, black, white, brown, and lilac – and lacquered.

Each figure was made to look unique, especially their faces and hair. Their arrangement of the infantry, cavalry, chariots, and officers gives the impression of a whole battlefield army ready for action.

The warriors were set in rows. Their postures vary – they are either standing or crouching. Officers are riding their chariots.

The terracotta warrior figures were created during a time span of three years. Over 700,000 convict laborers worked on the project.

Scientists have only explored about one quarter of the site so far – there could be four time more soldiers on the remaining three pits of the mausoleum.

In addition to the terracotta warriors, the site contains dangerous traps, such as crossbows triggered by a mechanism, with the purpose of shooting anyone who gets near.

The emperor apparently hoped that would keep his tomb intact.These figures were discovered in 1974.

Thanks to them, we can learn a lot about ancient Chinese culture and history. This is especially true for the way ancient armor, weapons, chariots looked like.

The army includes warriors of different ranks, and we can also learn about command structures in ancient Chinese imperial army.

The excavation site is a part of UNESCO World Heritage. Its inner chambers, including the emperor’s tomb, has not have been excavated so far.

There could be many more soldiers and other figures around the tomb.
Tterracotta General


The terracotta warriors were supposed to belong to which ancient Chinese army??

They were made to resemble the Qin imperial army of Shi Huangdi.

How tall were the figures??

They were taller than an average contemporary soldier – around 1.8 to 1.9 meters.

Do all of these soldiers look the same??

No, their looks are varied very much – their height, posture, weapons, equipment, and even hairsyles are different, and they mostly depend on rank.

Were there any terracotta horses?

Yes, the terracotta army includes hundreds of horses and one hundred chariots.