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Why the Terracotta Warriors Don’t Wear Helmet

No one traveling to Xian skip Terracotta Warriors and Horses. When you doing the Terracotta Warriors tour, have you ever asked why these terracotta soldiers don’t wear helmet?

Actually these soldier figures not only don’t wear helmet but also wear very plain loricae. The main force of the troop – infantrymen wear loricae that just protect their chest and back. And the cross-bow soldiers wears no any kind of loricae. By observing all soldier figures excavated in the pits, one will find helmet of the Qin soldiers are all simple and protect only the most crucial part of their body. How could these happen? That was decided by the unique ethnic tradition and culture of Qin People.

In Chinese history, culture and personality of Qin people is quite different from the well cultivated states lies to east of the Qin State. Qin people lived and developed in the northwest corner of China, they struggled in tough natural living condition and lived with nomad who were famous for the brave for hundreds of years. Though the Qin People worked hard to learn about the civilization of eastern states, they had never been educated with the mild and genteel ethics of the eastern states. In minds of Qin People, being warlike and fighting for interest was the principle of nature.

The great thinker of the Warring Period Han Feizi recorded his first meeting with Qin People: When the Qin People got the order to face a battle, they were all exciting and seemed can not wait to fight the war. In the war, the Qin soldiers wore neither helmet nor the long sleeve cloth. The only thing they were eager to do was to charge and kill enemy. The troops of eastern states were badly scared. When the battle ended, the Qin soldiers collected heads of enemy soldiers they killed and brought them to their master. Qin People thought life as the less important thing. Because only if they participated in a war, they would have chance to kill enemy and take the enemies’ heads. And only with these heads their behave in the war would be regarded as meritorious performance. And then they could raise to the nobility and rise in rank. And so their live will be bettered by the government.

In the Terracotta Warriors pit, there is a group of special soldiers. They have weapon in their hands but wears no any kind of protection. Among all the soldiers they appear quite out of common. The expert assume they are suicide squad of the Qin troop. When there were some extremely dangerous military task, the government offered much promising award to soldiers who’d like to take the task in advance. Most soldiers who took that cross the Rubicon task may died in the battle. And out of other consideration, they gave up all body protection.

Lets return to the question: Why the terracotta soldiers wear no helmet? It seems there is just one explanation: the heavy helmet and loricae made their body less movable so to some extent they were barrier when the soldiers fought with enemy.