More terracotta warriors discovered in NW China   2012-06-10 21:12:10

Photo taken on June 9, 2012 shows the newly unearthed terracotta warrior which was painted with colors at the No. 1 pit of the Museum of Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Since the third excavation started in June of 2009, more than 100 terracotta warriors as well as terracotta horses and chariots have been unearthed at the No. 1 pit within the mausoleum complex of Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC), the founder of China's first unified feudal empire, the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). (Xinhua/Li Yibo)

XI'AN, June 10 (Xinhua) - Archeologists unearthed more than 310 pieces of cultural relics from the No. 1 Pit of the Mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang during a recent excavation of the mausoleum of the first emperor after China's unification.

The new discoveries include over 100 terracotta soldiers and war horses, two sets of chariots, as well as some weaponry, drums and a shield, said Yuan Zhongyi, a well-known archeologist who took part in the excavation work.

The shield is an exciting discovery, because no shields had previously been found in the three pits of terracotta warriors, Yuan said.

The shield, about 70 centimeters in height and 50 centimeters wide, was found on the right side of one of the chariots.

Experts said the shield, which is twice as large as the bronze shield found among bronze chariots and horses, is evidence of the size of shields in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC), because the bronze chariots and horses were produced to be half the size of real ones.


Of the 102 terracotta warriors unearthed from 2009 up to May this year, eight are officials and one is a senior official, said Xu Weihong, executive director of the excavation team.

The armor of the officials is much more complicated than that of ordinary soldiers, and the patterns on the officials' armor are more delicate and exquisite, Xu added.

Meanwhile, more terracotta warriors with colorful embellishments have been discovered this time, marking another important characteristic of this round of excavation.

"Strictly speaking, every one of the terracotta figures was decorated with various colors," said Xu, a researcher with the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang.

There are three main reasons the color could have been stripped from the figures, said Yuan Zhongyi.

He said that some of the terracotta warriors were submerged in water and others were affected by the fire in the pits, which could both result in the loss of color. And the method for coloring Terracotta Warriors in the Qin Dynasty could also be to blame.

"At that time, craftsmen would paint raw lacquer on them before decorating. After so many years, the lacquer separates from the body, stripping off the color," said Yuan.

This time, the colors were much better preserved than in previous excavations, although the colored parts of the figures' faces and clothes are quite small.

The eyeballs of unearthed terracotta warriors are black and taupe, and one even has red eyes. More interestingly, eyelashes were painted on one of the figures.

Experts said that the newly-discovered terracotta figures have given weight to the saying that each warrior had a unique face and expression, and that the colors vary on different parts.

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Editor: An
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