Nationalist Pride of the Emperor

It all began when Qin Shi Huang ordered for the construction of His Mausoleum. Construction began had begun roughly estimated during 246 BCE with about 700,000 workers involved with the construction. Emperor Qin Shi Huang was buried with a terracotta army guarding his tomb for thousands of years till its eventual discovery in March 29th of 1974. With the eventually discovery of The Mausoleum gave new light of Chinese culture and the magnitude a what china’s first empire was capable of. We can conclude that technology, almost perfect craftsmanship, and techniques that are used to showcase the emperor’s nationalistic pride of heritage and the feats his empire can achieve by devoting a shrine in the ritualistic monument for his afterlife.

It is noted in Robert L. Throrp book Son Of Heaven Imperial Arts of chine that the figures found in the Mausoleum are life size and vary in height, uniforms, and hairstyle based off a rank. The face does vary from statue to statue however as scholar’s and excavators have found 10 basic face shape that remain consistent with the all the statutes found in the Mausoleum.

Armored warriors, unarmored infantrymen, cavalrymen, helmeted drivers on chariots, spear-carrying charioteers, nearing archers and other generals and lower rank officials are the many different types of figure that are represented. These figures were originally painted but overtime the statues have had their color pigment chipped away due to old age. Figure one demonstrates how they would’ve looked with their original color. As of right now Lothar Ledderose book Ten thousand things: module and mass production in Chinese art states that the current count consists of more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses (2000).

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Now the way that these figures were constructed is truly interesting and vital to the context of the of techniques and technology that is was used. With the plethora of statues currently known to exist in the mausoleum, one would expect for these statues to be mass produced. This would result in many similarities with all the statues. On the contrary many of these lifelike statues are uniquely crafted when compared to one another. It begs the question on how this was done on a mass scale. Patrick Sean Quinn, Shangxin Zhang, Yib Xia, and Xiuzhen Li academic journal Building the Terracotta Army: ceramic craft technology and organization of production at Qin Shihuang’s mausoleum complex notes that before the construction and completion lifelike statue had not been created or documented beforehand by the Chinese. It is believed that the warriors were bonfire-fired or just simply left to dry. Samples taken from excavations have conclude that these figures are made of a “non calcareous paste, rich in angular, silt sized inclusions of quarts and biotite mica” (2017) which is shown in figure 3. Current evidence, therefore, suggests that the clay figures of the Terracotta Army were manufactured from locally available raw materials as noted moving 1050 metric tonnes of clay seems unlikely given the location and that Ledderose states “Moving the delicate 7000 or so 150–200kg warriors, generals and horses would also have been a huge operation” ( 2000) which implies that it was built in close proximity to where the raw material originated from. It should be noted that many of these warriors have different symbols on them “Stamps, inscriptions and painted symbols on certain terracotta warrior statues may indicate the activity of several different workshops, both in the Lintong area and perhaps 50km away in the Qin capital of Xianyang” (Yuan 1987, 1990; Li et al. 2016). Which with the attention given to microscopic details can determined that even though they were created in mass that they had very tight quality control. This could be because that Qin wanted the warriors to be the highest standard when going with, as they connect Qin to afterlife with the tomb acting as a vessel.

Now with highest quality with the craftsmen ship and technology it could be concluded that the terracotta warriors were also used to demonstrate the symbolism and be the landmark of Chinese heritage and of his indicative of what the Chinese were capable of. The statues were intended to show the actuality of what people were capable and the as Ladislav Kesner notes in Likeness of no one(re)presenting the first emperor’s army as “creation was guided by the purposeful striving for visual verisimilitude as complete as possible” (1995). It was made to also show status and prosperity for the first Chinese empire. Which embodies a major period innovation and achievement from the bronze age and that the intention was to visualize an intermediate stage from the real world to what appears to be the afterlife which makes the world intertwin able.

In the Jessica Rawson journal The power of images: the model universe of the First Emperor and its legacy* its stated that “rather have expected to perpetuate his power and would have viewed his tomb as a palace for the afterlife from which to execute his might.”(2002) as to show that in the afterlife that Qin previous endeavors were truly great and that he was what china had the best to offer and they were bestowed with ability to change of the world, which to an extent wasn’t inaccurate. And it could also be concluded that also that showing his greatness of his empire and that it was also created to help protect him both his resting place in the afterlife. With more than 8,000 figure the emperor did have a complete and formattable group of soldiers. Albeit one made of terracotta. While at the same time being hidden in the underground forever. “His tomb, and especially the figures of soldiers at his tomb, provokes questions about the role of images in ancient China on three counts: the extraordinary extent of the depiction; the accuracy of such elements as the amour and the weapons; and the fact that the soldiers were hidden forever underground.” (Rawson 2002) while we can see that this intertwines with the real world with something which in this case in the warriors while being connected to the afterlife which is the symbolism with these warriors.

The Chinese attention to the tiniest of details and craftsmanship with their creation techniques and technology while promoting their nationalistic pride and heritage show that Qins terracotta army can be basically considered a ritualistic cite the is used to help connect chine with the other world while at the same time protecting former emperor quin tomb from both real physical threats and religious threats. This truly breathtaking monument to showcase what humanity has to offer truly does showcase emperor Qin might and the might of his empire of all united China.

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Nationalist Pride of the Emperor. (2022, May 08). Retrieved from

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