The Terracotta Warriors of Qin Shihuangdi

The first Qin Emperor named himself for the mythical Yellow (huang) Emperor. He ruthlessly conquered several warring states pulling together one empire, founding the Qin dynasty -- from which China gets its name. He united his empire with a system of paved roads and standardized currencies, weights, and measuring systems. He joined several defensive earthenwork walls to form the Great Wall of China. He also was a strict Legalist who burned the works of the Zhou philosophers Kungfuzi and Laozi, and of anyone else with whom he disagreed.

His most remarkable accomplishment is his tomb in Xian, Shaanxi Province, which has not yet been fully excavated. What has been uncovered are over 6000 lifesize terracotta statues of warrior of various ranks -- no two of which are the same. The statues have been reconstruted and arranged in battle formation rows as they were originally placed. For more info on these remarkable statues see: The Chinese Emperor's Eternal Armies on the Jade Dragon website. The uncovering ang piecing together of these remarkable statues is a mamoth undertaking -- and the site has become one of China's most popular tourist sites.

all photos by Steve Moorhouse and Jana Russ © 2000