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
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
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
Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from