Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Terra-Cotta Warriors in east skirt of Xian is regarded as “the eighth wonder of the world” and has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO since December 1987. The purpose of the warriors and horses, located less than a mile from the emperor’s tomb, was to maintain and protect, throughout eternity, the spirit of Qin Shihuang, the first man who united China. According to historical records, Qinshihuang mobilized 700,000 workers to build the mausoleum in 38 years.

Discovering of the Terracotta Pits
In March, 1974 the Pit one of Terracotta Warriors and Horses was casually found by a local farmer when he was sinking a well. Later in 1976, No. 2 and 3 Pits of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses were discovered one after another. To protect and preserve well these rarities of great historical value a museum with a floor space of 16,000 square meters was built on the site of the No. 1 Pit as approved by the State Council in 1975. The Museum was brought to completion in 1979 and opened to visitors. Nearly 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors and horses, along with tens of thousands of pieces of weapons, have been uncovered from three pits, where the Army of Terracotta Warriors has slept for almost 2,200 years.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Pit One
About 6,000 pieces of the Qin Terracotta Army figures in Pit No. 1. It is a mixed formation of chariots and infantries, forming into a rectangular battle-array facing and backing on the west. It has its vanguard units, rear guards, bulk of an array and side-guards. The vanguard units are formed of three horizontal lines of soldiers facing east with each line having 68 warrior figures and 204 in total. And behind the vanguards there are 30 war-chariots mixture of 38 lines of chariot-soldiers and infantries stretching 184 meters long they form the hulk of an army. On the north and south sides of the hulk army there are two longitudinal lines of soldiers and they line of soldier plays the role of the rear guards. The vanguard soldier decked out smartly are the warriors good at shooting. The mixture of chariots and infantries forming the bulk of an army is a very strict battle formation at that time.

Pit Two

terracotta warriors and horses 02Pit No. 2 locates to 20 meters north of Pit No. 1. This pit consists of 4 unites. To east edge is the standing soldiers and soldiers falling on one knees who hold bows in hand. The south part is the chariot-and-horse fittings. In center of Pit No. 2 is the mixed troop of  infantry, and cavalry. In north edge of the pit there is the cavalry. The four unites could either fighter together or fight independently. And that battle formation could either attack or defend. Form the layout of Pit No. 2 modern people could get a glimpse of the battle formation in the Qin Dynasty.

Pit Three
Pit No. 3 locates northwest of Pit No. 1 is the smallest one among three pits. The soldier figures in this pit stand face to face in two rows. And the weapons in their hands were ceremony ones. So it is thought to be the head quarter of the whole underground troop. That pit was discovered in 1976 and opened to public in 1987.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Discovery and Repair of the Bronze Chariots Set

In June 1978 the excavation of the Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses discovered two large-sized bronze chariots. At the time of being brought out the two chariots were already crushed to pieces, the former chariot (which was later called No. 1 chariot) being shattered to some 3,000 pieces while the latter ( later called No. 2 chariot) some 1, 555 pieces. Through 15 months of hard work No. 2 bronze chariot was restored to its original shape and was put on display on Oct.1, 1983. And as No. 1 bronze chariot was severely damaged it is difficult to reshape it. So it underwent a whole 5 years to bring the work to finish and the chariot was opened to the public on display on the first of May 1988. Decorated with a lot of silver and gold pieces the two bronze chariots and horses used the silver bolts as wheel-fixer, silver-plated awning, gold wine-jar stands and gold-and-silver bridles, horse-reins and neckbands as well. Each chariot uses a little more than 7. 5 kilograms of gold and silver. For No. 2 chariot alone the decorative articles made of gold add up to 737 pieces and those of silver 983 pieces. The two chariots are really splendid and full of grandeur.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses, a Textbook of Imperial Burial System in Ancient China
The ancient people in China thought that death was another form of living, holding a view that the soul was inextinguishable when a person passed away, supposing that he will live on in another world as did in this world. And so when a person died people would make by imitation an environment to suggest what used to be when the dead was still alive, keeping him accompany with figures or some other articles fro use. Therefore, to bury the dead in a pompous way was in great vogue among the royal families and lords, being treated with a great number among of burying articles and figures or even burying the living for the dead in order to keep them company in the nether world. In China’s old days the Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses of a very large scale stand out an extraordinary color in the custom of burying the living for the dead. The creation has opened up a new style and form in breaking through the hoary system of the old burial rites. Thus it helps hasten the development of using the terracotta or wooden figure and horses to take the place of real persons and horse, i.e. to quicken the dying-out of the old custom and also helps the progress of a civilized burial system. It is certainly of great significance in the development of burial rites in China’s ancient times. The burial customs and rites are something that belongs to the category of sociology, being a component part of ancient culture. So it is beyond doubt that the formation system of the Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses is not only a component part of the Qin burial system, but an aspect of the Qin culture as well.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses

Entrance Fee:
March 1st-November 30th : RMB150 per person; December 1st-February 28th(29th): RMB120 per person

Opening hours: March 16th -November 15th: 08:30-18:00; November 16th-March 15th: 08:30-17:30

Public transportation:
Bus 游5(306)on East Square of Xian Train Station and get off at Bingmaong (Terracotta Warriors and Horses).
Bus No. 307 from the south gate of the Tang Paradise and get off at Bingmayong (Terracotta Warriors and Horses)

Tips for Terracotta Warriors and Horses Visiting:


  • Advised visiting time in the museum is 2.5-3 hours.
  • If you travel independently, afternoon would be the good time to visit here. Because in the morning the museum is usually crowded with group tourists.
  • The last bus back to downtown Xian departs Terracotta Warriors and Horses at 19:00. Please end the visit by 18:00 to make sure you could catch the bus.
  • Tourists are forbidden to go down to terracotta pits to visit. Please visit through the appointed visiting path.

Tours including Terracotta Warriors and Horses:

Xian Highlight Day Tour

One Day Xian Bus Tour

2 Days Xian Exploration Tour

1 Day Beijing Xian Tour by Flight

2 Days Shanghai Xian Tour by Air 

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