The Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qinshihuang Mausoleum 秦始皇陵兵马俑

The Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qinshihuang Mausoleum (qín shǐ huáng líng bīng mǎ yǒng 秦始皇陵兵马俑), which is regarded as the eighth wonder of the world, is five kilometers east of Lintong County (lín tóng 临潼), 35 kilometers from Xi’an City (xī ān 西安) in Shaanxi Province (shān xī 山西). Qin Shi Huang (qín shǐ huáng 秦始皇) (259 BC – 210 BC), the first emperor of China, ascended the throne at the age of 13, when construction of his tomb began. On completion of his many conquests, he ordered 720,000 conscript laborers to hurry up on building his royal tomb. It was finished just-in-time in 210 BC for his use. His son, the second Qin Emperor, saw Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses near the mausoleum to his entombment.

qinshihuanglingAccording to the Historical Book, Li Si (lǐ sī 李斯), the prime minister of Qin Dynasty (qín cháo 秦朝) (221BC—207BC), presided over the construction of the Mausoleum of the Emperor Qin Shihuang. Li Si, due to his extraordinary talents, was always trusted and appreciated by the Emperor Qin Shihuang. Before took over the prime minister, he had participated in the charge of the construction of the mausoleum. After became the prime minister, he formally presided over the construction work. The contribution of Li Si to the mausoleum is greatest, that is to explain why Li Si is the only one to be recorded in the Historical book as the person who presided over the tomb construction.

The terracotta figures were manufactured both in workshops by government laborers and also by local craftsmen. The head, arms, legs and torsos were created separately and then assembled. Studies show that eight face moulds were most likely used, and then clay was added to provide individual facial features. once assembled, intricate features such as facial qinshihuanglingexpressions were added. It is believed that their legs were made in much the same way that terracotta drainage pipes were manufactured at the time. This would make it an assembly line production, with specific parts manufactured and assembled after being fired, as opposed to crafting one solid piece of terracotta and subsequently firing it. In those days, each workshop was required to inscribe its name on items produced to ensure quality control. This has aided modern historians in verifying that workshops that once made tiles and other mundane items were commandeered to work on the terracotta army. Upon completion, the terracotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty.

The terracotta figures are life-like and life-sized. They vary in height, uniform and hairstyle in accordance with rank. The colored lacquer finish, individual facial features, and actual weapons and armor from battle were used in manufacturing these figures created a realistic appearance. The original weapons were stolen by robbers shortly after the creation of the army and the coloring has faded greatly. However, their existence serves as a testament to the amount of labor and skill involved in their construction. It also reveals the power the First Emperor possessed, enabling him to command such a monumental undertaking as this.

      据《史记· 秦始皇本纪》记载,“始皇初即位,穿治郦山,及并天下,天下徒送诣七十余万人,穿三泉,下铜而致椁,宫观百官奇器怪徙藏满之。令匠作机弩矢,有所穿近者辄射之。以水银为百川江河大qinshihuangling海,机相灌输,上具天文,下具地理。以人鱼膏为烛,度不灭者久之。”,指出当时修筑秦始皇陵的有七十余万人。凿穿了三层地下水,灌注铜水来填补缝隙,又修造宫殿,设置百官位置,放置奇珍异宝。用水银做成百川江河大海,用机械来模拟江河的流动,顶壁装有天文图像,下面置有地理图形,用娃娃鱼的油脂做成长明灯。陵墓中还有许多机关。为了防止泄密,在秦始皇入葬后,秦二世又下令将工匠封闭在地宫内城和外城之间。从科学探测和局部发掘来看,地宫里存在许多金属物质,也有很好的排水系统。至于地宫究竟有多深,学界争议很大,从20米到50米说法不一。有学者认为所谓“穿三泉”只是虚指。


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