Visiting the Terracotta Army Exhibition in Liverpool | REVIEW

Terracotta Warriors - Terracotta Army, Liverpool

More than half a century since its accidental discovery, the Terracotta Army is still one of the most important archaeological findings in history. And I am not surprised at all. Who would’ve thought that there was a hidden 76m tall underground tomb in a remote area of China? Sounds bonkers, right? Unsurprisingly, visiting the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor has always been on my travel bucket list. I often find myself astonished at this wonder. How is it possible to build an underground city filled with thousands of warriors to serve and protect the self-proclaimed First Emperor of China in his afterlife? The perseverance of humankind never ceases to amaze me.

Naturally, when I learnt that the World Museum in Liverpool was temporarily exhibiting part of of the collection of this archaeological complex, I immediately had to add it to my Liverpool itinerary.

China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors entrance

The Story Behind the Terracotta Army

As you’d predict, the story behind one of the oldest creations on Earth is quite magnificent but also really simple. Between 246-208 BC, a ghost army of more than 8,000 life-size terracotta soldiers and horses (technically, a bit larger than actual size) were buried alongside Emperor Qin Shi Huang to protect him in his afterlife, in what’s now the Lington District of Xi’an. This is pretty similar to the process the pharaohs of Egypt followed in preparation for the afterlife.

Originally painted in bright colours and arranged in formation, the life-size terracotta warriors were only one part of Emperor Qin’s elaborate plan for after his death. The actual project featured not only thousands of warriors, but in fact constituted a whole underground city with stables, offices, halls and even a park! The construction started on the extensive tomb when Qin Shi Huang became Emperor aged 13, and the entire process involved over 7,000 workers. It’s estimated that there are around 9,000 statues in the Terracotta Army, with 8,000 being soldiers, 520 horses, 130 chariots and 150 cavalrymen.

The Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum remained hidden until its accidentally discovery in 1974 by farmers digging a well, nearly a mile from Emperor Qin’s tomb. Up to this day archeologists are still discovering more pieces, with the Emperor’s tomb remaining sacred and unopened.

Terracotta Army horses and chariot

Terracotta Warriors - Armoured Infantryman, Terracotta Army, Liverpool

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors

Part of the Terracotta Army was temporarily displayed at the World Museum in Liverpool. “China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors” featured almost one hundred valuable relics including Qin examples of the Terracotta Army and horses, as well as stone armours and bronze, gold, silver and jade pieces from the Eastern Zhou and Han dynasties. This unique display was incredibly captivating and resembled what I would describe as a walk through Chinese history; a timeline exhibit directing visitors from the Eastern Zhou (770 BC-256 BC) and Han (202 BC-220) dynasties. An absolute must.

Although this was the first time more than half of the items were on display in England, this is actually the third time that the Terracotta Warriors have been in the UK – in Edinburgh in 1985 and at the British Museum in London in 2007.

Inside Terracotta Army, Liverpool

Terracotta Warriors - Kneeling Archer Terracotta Army, Liverpool

 

What happens next for the Terracotta Army? The “Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality” is currently on exhibit at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand. This display features 160 figures of the Terracotta Army and is open until 22nd April 2019. If you happen to be in New Zealand at this time, most definitely pay a visit! Otherwise, why not travel to China and see the whole display instead? I know I would love to!

Have you seen the Terracotta Army either in a temporary exhibition or in China? Let me know in the comments below!

G.


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18 comments

  1. Ashley Firth

    Wow this is so amazing! I had no idea the Terracotta Army was on display in Liverpool! I must make the journey over before they’re on the move again- your pictures are fab!

    Ashley
    https://lellalee.com

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thanks Ashley! They are now in New Zealand – another excuse to travel all the way there? x

      Reply

  2. Jane Palmen

    Incredible photos – sorry I missed seeing this myself. Really interesting article. Hadn’t realised how big they are!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      I hadn’t realise they were so big either! Thank you for the comment, Jane x

      Reply

  3. Janja

    Wow! That is just spectacular. I would love to see that in live in Xian. It is amazing what they build and how it was actually found later. Incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thanks Janja! x

      Reply

  4. Nina

    It is a dream of mine to see the Terracotta Army. It is simply breathtaking! Love the pictures.

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Same, I would love to see the whole collection in China! x

      Reply

  5. Savannah

    Wow, these photos are breathtaking. This experience seems so incredible, and details such a cool insight into history. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Savannah! x

      Reply

  6. Honestly Holly

    My mum went to see this in London and she said it was overwhelming and really humbling – would love to see it in person!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      I agree, they’re incredibly fascinating! Thanks for commenting x

      Reply

  7. Elysia

    I had no idea this was in Liverpool!! 🙂

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      It was so good! x

      Reply

  8. In Asian Spaces

    I’ve always wanted to see the terracotta warriors in person. Glad there are exhibits like this where people can view them.

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Same, seeing the whole collection must be incredible! x

      Reply

  9. Erin

    This is so cool! I had no idea about this piece of history. Thank you for sharing! I would love to see an exhibit on this some day!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you! x

      Reply

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