In 1974, workers in China were busy digging a new well when they made the most amazing discovery. They came upon a pit where initially, they unearthed 1,000 pieces of pottery figurines, a few bronze chariots, horses, and weapons that would have been used during that era. However, they soon discovered this pit was massive and the resting place of more than 6,000 full-size soldiers made from terra cotta, all standing in formation, many with their horses ready for battle.
Archaeologists were ecstatic about this find and intrigued that the horses all faced east and the soldiers each had unique facial expressions, making them appear uncanny but realistic. To date, 96 horses and 11 chariots have been uncovered but archeologists believe this is just the beginning.
The Army of Terra Cotta Warriors depicts a very clear picture. In 221 BC during the Qing Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang was the Emperor in reign. The Terra Cotta Army was built as a way of creating an illusion of strength and manpower. It was believed that as enemies approached, they would be overwhelmed with the powerful army supporting Emperor Qin and turn away. It took more than one million workers to create the army and to lay your eyes on the masterpiece is indescribable.
In all, three pits have been discovered but diggers continue working, as there is strong evidence even more pits exist, just waiting to be discovered. The pit holding the 6,000 plus soldiers is obviously massive. However, the other pits are not just small holes in the ground but more like underground cities.
Within this first pit, workers found a peculiar rectangular formation of army troops and chariots. This pit measures 755 feet going east and west and 203 feet going north and south. The entire pit was built using only wood and the earth. Its appearance is similar to a cavern with five entrances sloping down into the pit.
Ten walls are erected that serve as partitions to separate the rows of soldiers. These walls are all reinforced with wood beams covered with reed and earth and the floor of this pit is paved with black bricks. Three columns of soldiers face the east as a way of protecting the vanguard. The squads are each 70 strong, which equates to 210 troopers. The troopers flank to the south and on the west side is rear guards armed with crossbows.
This pit shows a winding formation of army troops, cavalries, and chariots. Located only 66 feet from the first pit, the size of this particular pit is an astounding 3.74 miles. The pit is divided into an “L” shape with four separate sections that reveal 1,000 soldiers, 500 horses, and 89 wooden chariots. The sections all serve a specific purposSection One – Inside are 334 archers lined in groups of eight. The archers are all armed with crossbows that have amazing detailing. Of the archers, approximately half are wearing heavy, protective armor. The archers in the front are in a kneeling position while the archers in the back are standing so they can shoot their crossbows over the heads of the kneeling soldiers. Section Two – In this section are 64 chariots, again lined in groups of eight. The chariots are manned by an archer and then protected with a soldier on either side. To provide reinforcement to the rear, infantrymen stand.
Section Three – Located at the center of the pit there are 19 chariots and around 100 soldiers. Within this pit, the groupings are in three that cover the right, left, and rear. The groups consist of a chariot to the front and then archers and messengers milling about as if going about their daily business.
Section Four – Standing due north, the groupings in this section are three. These groups consist of six chariots, 124 horses, and 124 soldiers. Each of the chariots carry two people – one the charioteer and a scout. The expressions on the soldiers found in this section look exceptionally mean and each of them is holding a bow, ready for battle.
It was determined that this final pit was the command headquarters of Emperor Qin since it contained many fine pieces of pottery, jewelry, and other relics that would have been considered personal items.
It was originally believed that each was an original work. They were actually made from a variety of molds containing the various body parts which were then assembled. In assembly line fashion, hundreds of labors made and assembled the warriors in various poses and passed them down to the craftsman to complete. The artists would then cover the entire piece with thin layers of clay and sculpt the final details giving each soldier a unique appearance and personality.
The entire army stands at attention, as if awaiting the command to attack...somewhere in the next world.