Time Magazine recently declared Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor one of the top 10 museum exhibitions of 2008. The Houston Museum of Natural Science will present this archaeological find, deemed the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World, beginning May 22. Tickets for the special exhibition are now on sale.
The exhibit set attendance records when it was shown at the British Museum in London in 2007-08, and has already stopped at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif. After its stint at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the exhibit will make its final stop at the National Geographic Society Museum in Washington, D.C. It is currently on display at the High Museum in Atlanta. For more information, log on to http://www.terracottaexhibit.com or call (713) 639-4629.
Created as protectors of the tomb of China’s First Emperor – Qin Shi Huang – the Terra Cotta Warriors portray how actual Chinese armies looked around the time of the emperor’s death in 210 BCE. The excavation of burial pits discovered in 1974 revealed the more than 8,000 clay warriors and artifacts, which were contained in an area encompassing thousands of square meters around the present day city of Lishan, China. At the time of the warriors’ creation, it was thought that a person’s spirit should be treated just as his mortal body, and it was customary to be buried with everyday objects that could be used in death. Before Huang’s death, he arranged for the giant mausoleum to be built to house remains, where the Terra Cotta Army was to be included to guard him in the afterlife.
The Terra Cotta Warriors are life-like, life-size, man-made clay figures, created in what is believed to have been an assembly-line process. The exhibit will include a selection of 14 of these warriors, including generals, infantrymen, officers, and servants, as well as a cavalry horse and chariot driver. Visitors will learn about the Emperor and see artifacts from his vast necropolis, including a suit of armor, exquisite pendants, ritual objects and even models of facilities of the Qin Dynasty.
Qin Shi Huang ruled from 239 BCE until his death in 210 BCE. Although somewhat controversial, the emperor’s legacy includes involvement in the initial construction of the Great Wall of China, introducing the philosophy of legalism and unifying the warring states in China.
“Since their discovery, the Terra Cotta Warriors have captured the world’s imagination because they give us a fascinating glimpse into the life of China’s first emperor, a man who created multiple historical marvels that endure to the present day,” says Joel A. Bartsch, president of The Houston Museum of Natural Science. “We’re eager to present the magnificent achievements of this ancient Chinese culture when this unprecedented exhibition comes to Houston.”
National funding for Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor is provided by UPS. Local funding is provided by GE.
Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor runs from May 22-Oct. 18. Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $18 for children and seniors and $12 for museum members. Tickets may be purchased online, which is recommended due to the popularity of this exhibit. For more information, visit http://www.terracottawarriorexhibit.com or the museum’s web site at http://www.hmns.org/.