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FAQs About the Terracotta Army

We are receiving hundreds of questions about the Terracotta Army every day. Below are the most asked ones. We believe it will save you lots of time and help you plan your trip better by listing these questions. Please enjoy your reading!

How tall are the terracotta warriors?

The terracotta figures are about as tall as many adults and some are taller than most. On average they are about 1.8 m (about 5.9 ft), though the tallest is about 2 m (6.6 ft).

Were the Qin warriors as tall as the terracotta warriors? Does it mean the Qin people were taller than modern Chinese people?

Not really. In fact, with the 10-cm high pedestal under their feet, coupled with the topknot on their heads, the real height of the terracotta soldiers is even shorter than 1.7 meters, not really taller than the average people today.

There are two reasons for the taller terracotta warriors.

1. In those days, battles often involved close combat, which required tall and strong soldiers.

2. For visual effect, the statues are taller than real people.

Another likely scenario, however, is that Qin Shihuang (259–210 BC) wanted the taller terracotta warriors to show his supremacy and the majesty of this once-dominant army.

Why is the Terracotta Army facing east?

There is no agreed answer to this, but the most common speculation is that the original domain of Qin was in the west and the other six states were in the east, so the terracotta warriors and horses facing east might indicate the determination of Qin Shihuang to unify the whole country, as well as to deter the six eastern states after his death.

Why do almost all of the excavated terracotta warriors have no weapons?

Judging from the hands of more than 2,000 figures in Pit No. 1, most of them originally had a weapon. The latest excavation found some of the statues are still holding well-preserved weapons in their hands. But most weapons have disappeared.

Where are the missing weapons? There are two major possibilities:

1. Years of corrosion. This may be true, but it is not certain. Some metal weapons were found in the funerary pits, such as crossbows and chariots, and weapons mainly made of bronze at that time were not likely to be corroded.

2. Looting. This is the more likely reason. At the time, metal was a scarce resource. After Qin Shihuang annexed the other six states and unified China, it was even required that all weapons in the country be turned over and destroyed. Therefore, it is very likely that someone stole weapons from the tomb of Qin Shihuang during peasant uprisings of later ages.

Has the Terracotta Army been fully excavated?

Not really. Current technology is not advanced enough to prevent the coat of paint on the surface of the terracotta figures from being oxidized when exposed to air. We can’t excavate without destroying some of the contents as well.

How important is the Terracotta Army?

1. The Qin dynasty ushered in the unification of ancient China.

2. Qin Shihuang was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first emperor in ancient China.

3. The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor was the first and largest emperor’s cemetery in Chinese history, with its huge scale and many funerary objects, and it represents the highest achievements of the Qin civilization.

The current excavation of the Terracotta Army only accounts for 1% of the whole imperial site, just the tip of the iceberg. But the quantity and quality of these life-sized warriors and horses are still extraordinary, providing priceless information for in-depth study of the armed forces, economics, politics, culture and art of the Qin dynasty. These are not only artistic treasures of the Chinese people, but also the common cultural heritage of people throughout the world.

Can we buy Terracotta Army figures?

We can’t buy the real Terracotta Army, of course, but there are plenty of gift shops at the museum and around Xi’an Railway Station selling terracotta warrior replicas of various sizes. We can buy souvenir replicas.

Terracotta Army Tour with Beijing and Shanghai