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China's Terracotta Army: Information and Teaching Resources

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Cultures +2 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary

This collection contains information and teaching resources on the Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 life-size terracotta figures created for the tomb complex of China's First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259 – 210 BCE). Resources in this collection cover a wide range of topics, including: the discovery of the Terracotta Army, Emperor Qin Shihuang, the unification of China, Qin dynasty (221 – 206 BCE) spiritual beliefs, how the terracotta warriors were made, the different types of terracotta warriors, and the types of bronze weaponry found in the Terracotta Army pits. This collection also contains three interactives: a timeline of ancient Chinese history, a map of the tomb complex, and maps of battle formations in the Terracotta Army pits.

Objects found in Emperor Qin Shihuang’s elaborate tomb complex, which covers a total area of 17.6 square miles, make up the majority of surviving objects from this significant period in Chinese history.They are some of the best archaeological evidence researchers have for understanding the spiritual beliefs, military practices, and values of the ruler responsible for unifying China for the first time in its history. 

Authors of this collection are the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Tags: archaeology; archaeologist; ancient history; artifact; afterlife; funerary practices; burial; death; religion; military; soldier; sculpture; chinese; world history; asia; asian; xi'an; empire; terra cotta; qin shi huang; shihuangdi; shi huang di; earthenware; ceramics

Archaeological Excavation of Pit No. 1

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Map of Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Tomb Complex

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Art and Archaeology of Ancient China Timeline

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Inscription on terracotta armor (咸阳庆)

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Coin

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Measuring Ladle

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Map of Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Tomb Complex

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Clay Model of Terracotta Figure Creation Steps

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Kneeling archer with traces of pigments

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Pit No. 1

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Pit No. 1 (side view)

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Diagram of Pit No. 1

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Armored infantryman

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Unarmored infantryman

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Armored middle-ranking officer

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Pit No. 2

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Diagram of Pit No. 2

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Kneeling archer

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Kneeling archer (shoe detail)

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Standing archer

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Chariot Team (Charioteer and Chariot soldiers)

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Cavalryman

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Cavalryman and saddled horse

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Armored general

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Pit No. 3

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Terracotta horse

Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum

Ceremonial stone armor with pauldrons

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Bronze sword

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Long-shaft weapons

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum

Bronze crossbow

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum