China's Fabled Terracotta Army Grows as Archaeologists Unearth a Platoon of 110 Lost Warriors
Archaeologists have discovered over 8,000 terracotta warriors at the site of the Qin Emperor’s mausoleum in Xi’an, China, and nine of those are currently on view at the Discovery Times Square museum’s “Terracotta Warriors: Defenders of China’s First Emperor.” But it seems like China has no need to worry about lending a few abroad: the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, which oversees the site, has just announced the uncovering of 110 new warriors, and the discovery of 11 more yet to be dug up.
The new finds are unique in that the color pigment they were originally painted with has been preserved, and the details remain clear — some soldiers have black and taupe eyeballs, and one even had eyelashes, according to the Guardian. Warhorse sculptures, chariots, drums, and a Qin Dynasty-era (221-206 B.C.E.) shield decorated with red, green, and white patterns have also been unearthed. Much of the color of the other sculptures had been lost due to fire and water damage.
Qin Shihuang, who had the terracotta warriors and mausoleum complex built as a memorial, was the king of the Chinese Qin state and became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 B.C.E. before dying at age 49 in 210 B.C.E. The purpose of the warriors was to protect the emperor in the afterlife — to that end, they are armed with 40,000 bronze weapons. The mausoleum also featured miniature rivers made of mercury and crossbows rigged to shoot intruders and would-be thieves. Most of the workmen who built the tomb were apparently killed in order to preserve its secrets.