Lantern Festival Photo, Terracotta Army, posted 2012-07-29

Lantern Festival, Missouri Botanical Garden – This display represents figures from the “Terracotta Army”.  There are four of the soldier figures along with the flags shown here that appear to be guarding one of the gates to the Garden.  The Terracotta Army is a set of about 8,000 sculptures representing the armies of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang.  They have been dated to sometime in the 3rd century BC but were only found by some farmers in March 1974 in the Shaanxi Province.  The actual sculptures are said to be life-sized and like the humans they were modelled on, vary in height, hairstyle, and uniform.  According to Wikipedia, “The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, and horses. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits near by Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum.   Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians…Most originally held real weapons such as spears, swords, or crossbows. The figures were also originally painted with bright pigments, variously coloured in pink, red, green, blue, black, brown, white and lilac.  The coloured lacquer finish, individual facial features, and actual weapons used in producing these figures created a realistic appearance. Most of the original weapons were thought to have been looted shortly after the creation of the army, or have rotted away, and the colour coating has flaked off or greatly faded.”  These warriors are constructed of brightly colored silk over wire frames.  Two different warriors designs are used in the display at the Garden.

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