It was in China 3000 years ago, time of the Qin dynasty. The emperor Qinshihuang seeks immortality by letting his alchemists search for a formula. At the same time, he is building the famous terracotta warriors from the bodies of outlaws and the condemned. This is the time a solidier Tiang Fong and a court lady Twon fell deeply in love. Such a thing is not tolerated at the court and when their relationship is discovered both are sentenced to death. In the meantime the alchemists have discovered the formula of immortality, but decide to destroy their work. However Twon gets possession of one immortality pill which she manages to give to Tiang Fong before he's made a terracotta warrior too. China 1930. While on location a film crew discovers parts of the grave of emperor Qin guarded by the terracotta warriors. Tiang Fong, being immortal, awakes, and starts his journey to look for Twon... This is the plot from a fictional story Qin Yong (1989).
|The Terracotta Warriors represent only a small fraction of the eight thousand strong underground army buried in front of the Emperor Qinshihuang's tomb (221-207 BC) to defend him in the afterlife. The craftsmanship attested by each of the Terracotta warrior is as stupendous as the scale of the project. So who was the Emperor Qinshihuang to merit such magnificence? One of the most important rulers in Chinese history, this Emperor leaves a legacy as morally complicated as that of Peter the Great. For, like the Russian Tsar, he is as well-known for his contributions to the modern state as he is for sacrificing the lives of thousands of labourers to his visionary projects. Made King of the state of Qin at the age of thirteen, by the time he was thirty-eight he conquered the six neighbouring states to unify China for the first time. The use of terracotta interred around Qinshihuang's mausoleum reflected the cruelty of the rulers and slave-owners' psychology. "Records of the Historian," a book written by Sima Qian around 104 B.C., notes that a number of craftsmen and concubines who had not borne any children were buried alive when Qin Shi Huang was entombed. The practice of using pottery figurines and horses as Terracotta Warriors also served to satisfy his desire. It is only natural that the pottery figures had to be true to life.|
|Although reviled for his tyranny, Qinshihuangdi is also admired for many radical and insightful policies which subsequent dynasties employed. To synthesise seven separate states into one nation, he standardised a common script and established uniform measurement and monetary systems. For effective government, he codified a legal system and replaced hereditary rulers with a centrally appointed administrative system. To improve industrial productivity he encouraged agricultural reforms and constructed many roads. And in an effort to limit the inroads of barbarian tribes, he supervised the construction of a defence fortification along the northern frontier, the first Great Wall. Although China benefited from these policies, thousands of Chinese workers died in completing this far-reaching public works program, especially the Terracotta Warriors and Great Wall. Even after Qinshihuang's death, he wanted to lead his Terracotta army to the nether world to protect his spirit and perpetuate his rule.|
|Some farmers discovered the Terracotta Warriors, located in Xian, in March 1974, while digging a well. According to the on-the-spot measurement after excavation, Vault 1, an underground architectural complex, is 5 meters deep, covering an area of over 14,000 square meters. Leading down into the Vault is five slops doorways on each side. At a distance of 20 meters north of Vault 1, from east to west lie Vault 2 and Vault 3. Fire had wrought damages on all the three Vaults with the ground caved in and most pottery warriors, horses and weapons broken. The unearthed Terracotta warriors are 1.8 meters high and clay horses, 2 meters long and 1.5 meters high. In the battle array, the vanguard appeared to be formed by three ranks of warriors all facing east, with 70 men in battle attire in each rank. Immediately behind the van is the main body of 38-column formation. On each of the three sides of the main body arrays a single rank of men, all facing out, who looked to be the flank and rear guards of the formation. The pits provide an incredible amount of information of the army's forces, dispositions such as the distribution and formation of ranks, the use of weapons and the application of military tactics.|
The main tomb has still to be excavated - partly because archaeologists are still uncertain of its exact location. Often Emperors amassed huge burial mounds simply to divert tomb raider's attention from the true site of their tomb. So the artificial mound that today marks the Emperor's tomb does not necessarily indicate the location of its wondrous central chamber. However, because high mercury levels have recently been reported nearby, archaeologists think they may, at last, have discovered it. The Terracotta warriors, that you will see today, form just one of the many barriers the ruthless Emperor employed to protect his tomb for eternity. Recently, Chinese experts and officials deemed excavation infeasible in the near future. "All the objects in the tomb have been underground for thousands of years. They are used to the balance of the warmth and humidity underground and if we expose the relics to sunshine, oxygen or other gases, the balance will no longer exist and the relics will easily be ruined," said Zhang Bai, deputy-director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.|
|The pottery terracotta army, compact in organization and magnificent in battle arrays, is presented on a grand scale. The pottery warriors, well-proportioned and exquisitely shaped, have each a distinctive individual expression: some biting their lips, some glaring or gazing, some meditating with their heads lowered, or with troubled looks, others appearing naive or animated. With the armor buckled on, the soldier has his crossbow under the arm, and arrow quiver slung over the shoulder. The general, armored and keeping a hand on the tip of sword handle, maintains an awesome bearing. Strong and dynamic, the horse rears its head, bristling. With the discovery of the terra cotta army the grandeur and magnificence of the forces of Emperor Qin came to light. Each figurine was armed with a bronze weapon of that period. Over 10,000 bronze weapons have been excavated so far from the site. These include swords, daggers, billhooks, spears, halberds, axes, crossbow triggers, and arrowheads. The grandeur and superb workmanship fully demonstrate the great talent and vision of the Chinese nation.|