Expert says terracotta army of servants, not warriors 2009-04-13 21:34:37   Print

    BEIJING, April 13 -- A Chinese professor is out with a theory that could turn one of the country's most important archeological discoveries on upside down.

    Liu Jiusheng at Shaanxi Normal University says the famed Terracotta Soldiers of Xi'an aren't soldiers at all--they're royal servants and bodyguards, most likely modeled after high-ranking Qin dynasty officials.

    Most historians believe the 2,200-year-old clay statues buried near the emperor's tomb represent an army custom-made to guard him in the afterlife. But Liu argues ordinary soldiers weren't allowed to get close to the emperor, even in death.

    Furthermore, Liu says the figures stand at around 190 cm, much taller than average Chinese past or present. Liu theorizes the clay statues were probably made taller to show their elevated social status.

    Though not widely accepted, experts say Liu's argument is worth studying.

    The 1,000-strong terracotta army was discovered near Xi'an in 1974. It was listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in December 1987,

    Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from Xi'an. (XHTV)

Editor: Wang Hongjiang
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