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China's terra-cotta warriors are coming to the Field Museum

Photograph: Courtesy Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center A view of the Terracotta Warrior pit

The Terracotta Army or the "Terracotta Warriors and Horses" is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. This great creation was discovered in 1974 by local farmers. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum.

Ten of the figures will be on display at the Field Museum when "China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors" opens on March 4 (a great supplement to the museum's permanent "Cyrus Tang Hall of China" exhibit). In addition to the iconic clay sculptures, the exhibition will also include 170 objects, from bronze artifacts to weaponry, that date back to the rule of China's First Emperor. Visitors will learn more about the purpose behind the terra-cotta warriors and how continuing scientific investigations of the relics are shedding new light on ancient history. Access to the exhibition will be included in the Field Museum's Discovery and All-Access passes.

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