China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's Legacy
Like most of China's amazing archaeological discoveries, the terracotta army was found by accident. It came to light in 1974 when local farmers were drilling a well. Since then, remarkable discoveries at the First Emperor's burial site have ben ongoing, revealing the wealth of China's ancient past.
With contributions from leading scholars, China's Terracotta Warriors presents a panoramic view of Qin artistic, military, and administrative achievements under the powerful ruler sho proclaimed himself First Emperor of China. In addition to findings from his tomb complex, it examines the period of Chinese history preceding the First Emperor's reign (246-210 BCE) and his establishment of the Qin empire and dynasty in 221 BCE.
The Qin state had been in existence for over half a millennium before the First Emperor came to the throne, and its rulers had played their parts in the evolution of a small state into a superpower. Only in recent years has that history been revealed through a series of remarkable and often accidental discoveries of tombs and burials of early Qin royals and aristocracy. In the absence of substantive and reliable written sources, it is this archaeological evidence which provides clues to Qin's rise from state to empire.
China's Terracotta Warriors is published to accompany exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
Liu Yang is curator of Chinese art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The other contributors are Edmund Capon, Albert Dien, Liu Yunhui, Jeffery Riegle, Eugene Wang, Jay Xu, and Yuan Zhongyi.
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China's Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor's LegacyUser Review - Book Verdict
The 1974 discovery of numerous larger-than-life pottery warriors in China's Shaanxi Province near the tomb of the first Qin dynasty emperor began an astonishing archaeological excavation that has received wide attention ever since. Taking the custom of burying items for use in the afterlife further than either his forebears or his successors, Qin Shihuang (269–210 B.C.E) planned a tomb complex supplied with palace necessities, chariots, horses, and thousands of warriors. Items from the tomb complex have now been widely exhibited and frequently discussed in publications. This book, and the exhibition it accompanies (on display in San Francisco through May), provides new content by including funerary goods from earlier related royal tombs, excavated mostly between 1990 and 2006. Chapters with essays by Yang (curator, Minneapolis Institute of Art) and five other scholars cover Chinese history of the period, recent archaeological excavations, and the typical categories of funerary art: bronzes, ceramics, weapons, musical instruments, gold, and jade. VERDICT An updated presentation of an archaeological treasure, with new artifacts and helpful historical context.—Kathryn Wekselman, Cincinnati