The MAUSOLEUM OF THE FIRST QIN EMPEROR (
Qin Shi Huang
The tomb itself has not yet been excavated. Archaeological
explorations currently concentrate on various sites of the extensive
necropolis surrounding the tomb, including the
* 1 History * 2 Discovery of the terracotta warriors * 3 Archaeological studies * 4 Opinions on possible excavation * 5 References * 6 External links
Work on the mausoleum began soon after Emperor Qin ascended the
throne in 246 BC when he was still aged 13, although its full-scale
construction only started after he had conquered the six other major
states and unified China in 221 BC. The source of the account of the
construction of the mausoleum and its description came from Sima Qian
in chapter six of his
Records of the Grand Historian
In the ninth month, the First Emperor was interred at Mount Li. When
the First Emperor first came to the throne, the digging and
preparation work began at Mount Li. Later, when he had unified his
empire, 700,000 men were sent there from all over his empire. They dug
through three layers of groundwater, and poured in bronze for the
outer coffin. Palaces and scenic towers for a hundred officials were
constructed, and the tomb was filled with rare artifacts and wonderful
treasure. Craftsmen were ordered to make crossbows and arrows primed
to shoot at anyone who enters the tomb. Mercury was used to simulate
the hundred rivers, the Yangtze and
Some scholars believe that the claim of having "dug through three layers of groundwater" to be figurative. It is also uncertain what the "man-fish" in the text refers to, interpretation of the term varies from whale to walrus and other aquatic animals such as giant salamander .
DISCOVERY OF THE TERRACOTTA WARRIORS
General view of the pit n°1 in the museum of Xi\'an
The first fragments of warriors and bronze arrowheads were discovered by Yang Zhifa , his five brothers, and Wang Puzhi who were digging a well in March 1974 in Xiyang, a village of the Lintong county. At a depth of around two meters, they found hardened dirt, then red earthenware, fragments of terracotta, bronze arrowheads and terracotta bricks. Yang Zhifa threw the fragments of terracotta in the corner of the field, and collected the arrowheads to sell them to a commercial agency. Other villagers took terracotta bricks to make pillows. A manager in charge of the hydraulic works, Fang Shumiao, saw the objects found and suggested to the villagers that they sell them to the cultural centre of the district. Yang Zhifa received, for two carts of fragments of what would turn out to be terracotta warriors, the amount of 10 yuans . Zhao Kangmin, responsible of the cultural centre, then came to the village and bought everything that the villagers uncovered, as well as re-purchasing the arrowheads sold to the commercial agency.
In May 1974, a team of archaeologists from
Chariot found outside of the tomb mound
The necropolis complex of
Qin Shi Huang
The tomb mound itself at present remains largely unexcavated, but a number of techniques were used to explore the site. The underground palace has been located at the center of the mound. Archaeological survey and magnetic anomaly studies indicate a 4-meter high perimeter wall, measuring 460 meters north to south and 390 meters east to west, which is made of bricks and serves as the wall of the underground palace. On top is an enclosing wall made of rammed earth of 30–40 meters in height. There are sloping passageways leading to the four walls. The west tomb passage is linked to a pit where the bronze chariots and horses were found. The tomb chamber itself is 80 meters long east to west, 50 meters north to south, and is about 15 meters high. There are, however, disagreements among the academic community about the depth at which the palace lies, estimates ranging from 20 meters to 50 meters.
According to the scientific exploration and partial excavation, a
significant amount of metal is present in the underground palace which
has a very good drainage system. Sima Qian's text indicates that
during its construction the tomb may have reached groundwater, and the
water table is estimated to be at a depth of 30 meters. An underground
dam and drainage system was discovered in 2000 and the tomb appeared
not to have been flooded by the groundwater. Anomalously high levels
of mercury in the area of the tomb mound have been detected, which
gives credence to the Sima Qian's account that mercury was used to
simulate waterways and the seas in the
In December 2012, it was announced that the remains of an "imperial
palace" of great size had been found at the site. Based on its
foundations, the courtyard-style palace was estimated to be 690 meters
long and 250 meters wide, covering an area of 170,000 square meters,
which is nearly a quarter of the size of the
OPINIONS ON POSSIBLE EXCAVATION
Bronze swan Comparison of approximate profiles of the
Beginning in 1976, various scholars proposed to explore the underground palace, citing the following main reasons:
However, opponents of such excavations hold that China's current technology is not able to deal with the large scale of the underground palace yet. For example, in the case of the Terracotta Army, the archaeologists were initially unable to preserve the coat of paint on the surface of terracotta figures, which resulted in the rapid shedding of their painted decoration when exposed to air. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) indicated that research and evaluations should be conducted first so as to develop a protection plan for the underground palace, and rejected a proposal by archaeologists to excavate another tomb close by thought to belong to the Emperor's grandson over fears of possible damage to the main mausoleum itself.
* ^ Portal, Jane. "The first emperor of China: new discoveries & research: later this month the British Museum unveils an unprecedented loan exhibition of the terracotta warriors and other discoveries made at the 3rd-century BC tomb complex of Qin Shihuangdi, China's first emperor. Jane Portal, the exhibition's curator, explains the importance of the new finds." Apollo Sept. 2007: 54+. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 July 2016 * ^ Liu Yuhan (30 April 2012). "New York City welcomes the Terracotta Warriors". China Daily. Retrieved 13 July 2012. * ^ "Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China\'s First Emperor". * ^ Li Xianzhi (13 October 2009). ""Teenage warriors" discovered in China\'s terracotta army". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
* ^ 司马迁 (1982). 史记. 卷六.秦始皇本纪: 中华书局.
ISBN 9787101003048 .
* ^ Chinese Text Project Shiji, original text:
* ^ Portal, Jane (2007). The First Emperor: China's Terracotta
Army. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0714124476 .
* ^ http://www.ziyexing.com/files-5/shiji/shiji_06.htm
* ^ Charles Higham (2004). Encyclopedia of Ancient Asian
Civilizations. Facts on File. p. 274. ISBN 978-0816046409 .
* ^ Tanner, Harold M. (2010). China : a history. Indianapolis:
Hackett Pub. Co. p. 424. ISBN 9781603842051 .
* ^ Zhewen, Luo (1993). China's imperial tombs and mausoleums (1
ed.). Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. ISBN 7119016199 .
* ^ Han Shu《汉书 ·楚元王传》：ORIGINAL TEXT:
TRANSLATION: Xiang burned the palaces and buildings. Later observers
witnessed the excavated site. Afterward a shepherd lost his sheep
which went into the dug tunnel; the shepherd held a torch to look for
his sheep, and accidentally set fire to the place and burned the
* ^ "China unearths 114 new Terracotta Warriors". BBC News.
2010-05-12. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
* ^ "
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