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Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum

Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology, and Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art
Teacher/Educator, Museum Staff
Social Studies, Arts

These collections provide a unique opportunity to explore Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Complex, home to China's Terracotta Army. 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 the Qin dynasty, a 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. 

Collections created by the Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum in collaboration with the Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art.

Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum's collections

 

China's Terracotta Army: Exploring Pit 0007

<p>In this activity, students will use close-looking and object analysis techniques to explore bronze birds and terracotta figures found in Pit 0007, a small but important part of the tomb complex of China's First Emperor, Emperor Qin Shihuang (259–221 BCE). After learning about the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE), the First Emperor, and the objects, students will create their own arguments about what the objects reveal about this significant historical period and the ruler responsible for unifying China for the first time in its history.</p> <p>While the tomb complex is perhaps better known for the Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses, Pit 0007 provides students with a unique opportunity to use evidence to make inferences about the past. The original purpose of the pit, with its arrangement of birds and men around a pool of water, is still unknown to researchers. Additionally, with their non-military focus, these objects can diversify students' understanding of the First Emperor's values and life during the Qin dynasty when studied alongside the Terracotta Army. </p> <p>To create a shorter activity, consider removing some or all of the questions that ask students to guess what types of birds the bronze figures are; the activity will still work well without all of them present.</p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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China's Terracotta Army: Uncovering Lesser-Known Objects

<p>In this activity, students will use close-looking and object analysis techniques to explore lesser-known objects from the tomb complex of China's First Emperor, Emperor Qin Shihuang (259–221 BCE). Students will begin by splitting into small groups to explore one of six object sets: building decoration (group 1), measurement tools (group 2), animal attendant figures (group 3), music (group 4), tomb drainage (group 5), and tomb construction (group 6). After completing analysis questions, students will come back together and share their findings with the full class. To end the activity, students will reflect as a class and individually about what these objects reveal about the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE) and the ruler responsible for unifying China for the first time in its history. </p> <p>This activity works best for students who have already learned basic information about Emperor Qin Shihuang and his tomb complex. Consider using this activity, <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/chinas-terracotta-army-introduction-to-chinas-first-emperor-and-the-terracotta-army/qXEJo6nsRvp22T3F">Introduction to China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Army</a>, if your students need a quick introduction.<br></p> <p>Objects found in Emperor Qin Shihuang’s elaborate tomb complex, which holds the Terracotta Army and 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 China's First Emperor.</p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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China's Terracotta Army: Examining Melee Weapons

<p>In this activity, students will use close-looking techniques to examine bronze melee weapons excavated from the tomb complex of China's First Emperor, Emperor Qin Shihuang (259–221 BCE). After learning about the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE), students will create their own arguments about what the objects reveal about this significant historical period and the ruler responsible for unifying China for the first time in its history.</p> <p>Although the First Emperor's tomb complex is perhaps better known for the discovery of the Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses, these weapons are some of the best archaeological evidence researchers have for understanding the spiritual beliefs, military practices, and values of the Qin dynasty.</p> <p>This activity includes information on all the melee weapons found in the tomb complex so far. To create a shorter activity, consider removing a few weapons; the activity will still work well without all of them present.</p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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China's Terracotta Army: Exploring Artistic Practices

<p>In this activity, students will analyze figures from the Terracotta Army, made for China's First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259 – 210 BCE), in order to explore the artistic practices of a newly unified China during the Qin dynasty (221 – 206 BCE). Students will explore the elements of art and principles of design used in the terracotta warrior figures before designing their own papercraft terracotta warrior.</p> <p>The Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses, was created for Emperor Qin Shihuang to form a small part of his elaborate tomb complex. These figures are significant not only because of their artistic realism, detail, and diversity, but also because of their rarity – the majority of surviving objects from this time period have been found in Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb complex.</p> <p>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.</p> <p><em>Tags: archaeology; archaeologist; ancient history; artifact; afterlife; funerary practices; burial; death; spiritual beliefs; military; soldier; sculpture; chinese; world; asia; asian; xi'an; empire; see wonder connect; project zero; visible thinking routine; strategy; maker; art making; papercraft; terra cotta; shihuangdi; shi huangdi; shi huang di; earthenware; ceramics</em></p> <p><em>#visiblethinking</em></p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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China’s Terracotta Army: Exploring the Tomb Complex and Values of China’s First Emperor

<p>In this activity, students will take on the role of archaeologists and make inferences about what objects included in the elaborate tomb complex of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259 – 210 BCE) can reveal about his values, afterlife beliefs, and how he saw himself and his world. Students will analyze objects including not only members of the Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 terracotta soldiers and horses, but also terracotta acrobats, bronze waterfowl, and more. This collection is Part 3 in a series of collections created for a social studies classroom; for more information, click “Read More.”</p> <p>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. </p> <p>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.</p> <p><em>Tags: archaeology; archaeologist; ancient history; artifact; afterlife; funerary practices; burial; death; spiritual beliefs; military; soldier; sculpture; chinese; world; asia; asian; xi'an; empire; cross-cultural comparison; terra cotta; qin shi huang; shihuangdi; shi huang di; earthenware; ceramics</em> </p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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China’s Terracotta Army: Introduction to China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Army

<p>In this activity, students will learn about the life, achievements, and historical legacy of the First Emperor of China, Emperor Qin Shihuang (259 – 210 BCE). In order to understand why he, and the developments he shaped, are so historically significant, students will explore objects from the Qin (221 – 206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE – 220 CE) dynasties and use information learned to create arguments about the past. This collection is Part 1 in a series of collections created for a social studies classroom; for more information, click “Read More.”</p> <p>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. </p> <p>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.</p> <p><em>Tags: archaeology; archaeologist; ancient history; artifact; afterlife; funerary practices; burial; death; spiritual beliefs; military; soldier; sculpture; chinese; world; asia; asian; xi'an; empire; leader; see wonder connect; headlines; strategy; project zero; visible thinking routine; terra cotta; qin shi huang; shihuangdi; shi huang di; earthenware; ceramics</em><em></em> </p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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China's Terracotta Army: Examining Bronze Chariots and Horses

<p>In this activity, students will examine bronze chariots and horses, charioteer figures, and related objects found in the Pit of Chariots and Horses, a small, but important part of the elaborate tomb complex of China's First Emperor, Emperor Qin Shihuang (259-221 BCE). Although the complex is perhaps better known for the discovery of the Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses, the bronze objects also add to our understanding of the surviving material culture from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), a significant period in Chinese history. These objects 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. </p> <p>This collection was created in collaboration between the Emperor Qin Shihuang Mausoleum Site Museum and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. </p> <p></p> <p><em><em>Tags: funerary practices, spiritual beliefs, Chinese, ancient history, world, asia, xi’an, cross-cultural companion, terracotta army, bronze, chariot, project zero </em></em></p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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Take a closer look at Emperor Qin Shihuang's Bronze Chariots and Horses

<p style="text-align: justify;">In this activity, students will take a closer look at the bronze chariots and horses, charioteer figures, and related objects found in the Pit of Chariots and Horses, a small but essential part of the elaborate tomb complex of China's First Emperor, Emperor Qin Shihuang (259-221 BCE). Although the complex is perhaps better known for the discovery of the Terracotta Army, a group of approximately 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses, the bronze objects also add to our understanding of the surviving material culture from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), a significant period in Chinese history. These objects 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. Upon completion of this lesson, students will understand that chariots and horses were necessary tools for empire creation in the Qin Dynasty.</p> <p>This collection was created by the Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.</p> <p><strong>Tags</strong>: #funerary practices, #spiritual beliefs, #Chinese, #ancient history, #world, #Asia, #Xi'an, #cross-cultural companion, #terracotta army, #bronze, #chariot, #Project Zero.</p> <p><strong><u>Notes to Other Users</u></strong><br> Most of this collection can be completed individually or in small groups. It uses several <em>Project Zero thinking routines</em> that engage students with open-ended questions that can be used to spark discussion. For example, the "See, Think, Wonder" routine encourages students to make careful observations and thoughtful interpretations.  Although thinking routines can be used at any point in a lesson, they work incredibly well at the beginning of a topic because they can draw on information students can readily see.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><u>RELATED COLLECTIONS<br> </u></strong>This collection is one part of a series of focused on objects found in the elaborate tomb complex of China's first emperor, Emperor Qin Shihuang (259-221BCE). Created for use in the classroom, these resources It can be used as part of sequence or on their own. The collections are:</p> <ul><li>Visual Art: <a href="#r"><u>China's Terracotta Army: Exploring Artistic Practices</u></a></li></ul> <ul><li>Visual Art: <a href="#r/"><u>Colors of the Terracotta Army</u></a></li></ul> <ul><li>Social Studies (Part 1): <a href="#r"><u>China’s Terracotta Army: Introduction to China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Army</u></a></li></ul> <ul><li>Social Studies (Part 2): <a href="#r"><u>China’s Terracotta Army: The Terracotta Warriors</u></a></li></ul> <ul><li>Social Studies (Part 3): <a href="#r"><u>China’s Terracotta Army: Exploring the Tomb Complex and Values of China’s First Emperor</u></a></li></ul> <ul><li>All subjects: <a href="#r/https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/china-s-terracotta-army-information-and-teaching-resources/woEc9TUvDsdJCicx"><u>China’s Terracotta Army: Information and Teaching Resources</u></a><u></u></li></ul> <ul></ul> <ul> <li>Visual Art:<u><a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/china-s-terracotta-army-examining-bronze-chariots-and-horses/FyXCqDHZMzOQINml"> China's Terracotta Army: Examining Bronze Chariots and Horses</a></u> </li> <li>Social Studies: <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/take-a-closer-look-at-emperor-qin-shihuang-s-bronze-chariots-and-horses/gjT0FMibvY4AJ8ZP/edit#er/"><u>Take a closer look at Emperor Qin Shihuang's Bronze Chariots and Horses</u></a></li> </ul> <p><strong><u>ABOUT ANCIENT CHINESE OBJECTS<br> </u></strong>Objects from ancient China are, in the present day, often referred to as "art." However, it should be noted that what is called "art" was not necessarily made at the time as fine art— many of these objects had ritual or practical functions when new but gradually became valued for their aesthetic qualities. (From <em>The Art and Archaeology of Ancient China: A Teachers Guide</em>, p2, published by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.)</p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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New Discoveries at Emperor Qin Shihuang's Site Park: Pit 9901

<p>In this activity, students will take on the role of archaeologists and use visual evidence to make inferences about the different roles of figures which are recently found in the elaborate tomb complex of China's First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259 – 210 BCE). Students will engage in various looking activities to be able to analyze what these objects may reveal about his values, how he saw himself, and how he saw his world. </p> <p>Objects found in Emperor Qin Shihuang’s elaborate tomb complex, which covers a total area of 17.6 square miles and contains over 7,000 terracotta figures, 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. </p> <p>Authors of this collection are the Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum.</p> <p><strong>Keywords: </strong>archaeology, archaeologist, ancient history, artifact, afterlife, funerary practices, burial, death, spiritual beliefs, military, soldier, sculpture, chinese, world, asia, asian, xi'an, empire, cross-cultural comparison, terra cotta, qin shi huang, shihuangdi, shi huang di, earthenware, ceramics, pottery, terracotta army, new discoveries.<br></p>
Emperor Qin Shihuang's Terracotta Army Museum
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