Mini Terracotta Army Unearthed in China

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tags: archaeology, China, Han Dynasty, Terracotta Army

One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time is the Terracotta Warriors, a literal army of 7,000 life-size soldier and horse funerary statues buried in pits near the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of a unified China. While putting together such a massive burial truly took the resources of an emperor, the idea of being buried with an army must have sounded pretty cool to other blue bloods—as Owen Jarus at LiveScience reports, a miniature terracotta army was recently discovered in China, likely belonging to the tomb of a lesser royal.

According to the report, recently translated into English in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics, the mini-warriors were found at Shanwing Village in the Linzi District of Zibo City, in Shandong Province. Construction in 2007 unearthed five Han-era tombs, including the pit, which is actually two vertical pits. In total, it contains 500 figurines, including horses, humans, weapons, musical instruments, wild and domesticated animals. It also has watchtowers, gates, buildings, granaries, stoves, and other architectural pieces populating the pit, including a theatrical pavilion.

The approximately 300 figures of infantry soldiers, which stand about 11 inches tall, are laid out in a square formation, with the armored figures standing and crouching in a left or right-handed position. The 49 cavalry figurines, who wear helmets, body armor and pibo-shoulder armor, and are accompanied by horses and five vehicles, are as small as 5 inches. Meanwhile, the pottery watchtowers, which are depicted as two-story pavilions, stretch 55 inches in height. The scene is laid out to resemble the compound of a well-to-do noble or government official.

Read entire article at Smithsonian

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