China’s Terracotta Warriors
The First Emperor’s Legacy
Like most of China’s amazing archaeological discoveries, the terracotta army was found by accident. It came to light in 1974 when local farmers were drilling a well. Since then, remarkable discoveries at the First Emperor’s burial site have been ongoing, revealing the wealth of China’s ancient past.
With contributions from leading scholars, China’s Terracotta Warriors presents a panoramic view of the artistic, military, and administrative achievements of the Qin state and empire under the powerful ruler who proclaimed himself First Emperor of China. In addition to presenting findings from his tomb complex, it examines the period preceding his reign (246–210 BCE) and his establishment of the Qin empire and dynasty in 221 BCE.
The Qin state had been in existence for over half a millennium before the First Emperor came to the throne, and its rulers had played their parts in the evolution of a small state into a superpower. Only in recent years has that history been revealed through a series of remarkable and often accidental discoveries of tombs and burials of early Qin royals and aristocracy. In the absence of substantive and eliable written sources, it is this archaeological evidence which provides clues to Qin’s rise from state to empire.
China’s Terracotta Warriors is published to accompany exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
Liu Yang is curator of Chinese art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Contributors: Edmund Capon, Albert Dien, Jeffery Riegle, Eugene Wang, and Yuan Zhongyi.
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