The secret tomb of China's emperor is hiding 20 more terracotta soldiers

And there could be over 6,000 in there.
Mert Erdemir
Terracotta Army, nr. Xi'an.BartZuidema/iStock

Imagine an army of sculptures with more than 8,000 soldiers. Now, twenty more have been added to this mass.

The Terracotta Army is a collection of a life-size army containing thousands of soldiers, horses, and chariots depicting the army of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty and the unifier of China.

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The Terracotta Army dates back to the late third century BCE. But they were first discovered in 1974 when local farmers tried to dig a wellhole a mile east of the emperor's tomb. Since then, nearly 8,000 sculptures have been found by archeologists.

Lately, twenty new warrior structures were uncovered, according to China Global Television Network. It was also reported that the recently-found pottery figures are well preserved and transported to the protection and restoration room. The findings include a general and a middle-ranking army officer.

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The 20 soldiers have been found in the No.1 pit of The Terracotta Army in Xi'an. The pit has a total area of 153,493 square feet (14,260 square meters). Therefore, the excavation has the potential to unearth more than 6,000 pottery figures.

Secrets of the terracotta warriors

This army of terracotta structures is considered one of the greatest archeological discoveries in history and was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. It contains the figures of 8,000 soldiers, 150 cavalry horses, 130 chariots pulled by horses, and a great number of weapons such as swords, spears, crossbows, etc. 

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When the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Shi Huang, was dead in 210 BC, nearly 700,000 people participated in the construction of his mausoleum, the interior of which was intended to resemble a land including towers, palaces, and even rivers. Today, much about the tomb is still a mystery and arises the interest of scientists. 

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The figures depict the army of Qin Shi Huang. Besides his power and success, the emperor was also known for his fear of death and evil spirits. So, the purpose of the terracotta army in Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum is explained as to protect the emperor in the afterlife from evil spirits. Therefore, this massive collection basically signifies the necrophobia of a ruthless emperor.

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How are they made?

The warrior statues were structured separately and then put together. For their faces, ten molds were used, and then, they are personalized with clay in order to make them dissimilar from each other. To create a final of astonishing realism, the ceramic figures were glazed and painted with various colors, which have now almost completely vanished.

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Thanks to archeologists and their highly-developed conservation techniques, more and more sculptures are constantly being added to the findings. These findings shed light on not only the Qin Empire but also the mysterious technological process they developed.