The First Emperor: Chinas Entombed Warriors (2010)
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The First Emperor: Chinas Entombed Warriors 2010

The First Emperor: Chinas Entombed Warriors: One of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the vast terracotta army buried with the first Emperor of China in order to protect him in the afterlife was first uncovered in 1974 by local farmers who were drilling a well. Their accidental discovery of just one of the 7000 or more statues buried around the Emperors vast tomb complex not only cast new light on Chinas ancient history, it also illustrated just how far one man would go to ensure his legacy was never forgotten.Qin Shihuang (259 - 210 BC), born into a time of war and turmoil when the seven Chinese states constantly fought among themselves, was the first Emperor of a united China. Described as both a cruel and brutal ruler, and a hero and revolutionary, he began to plan his burial from the moment he ascended the throne, aged only 13. Later in life the aging Qin Shihuang would become obsessed with finding the secret of immortality, and it is thought that the creation of the meticulously detailed Terracotta Army is one of the legacies of this desperate quest. In light of the fact that his name is still known more than 2200 years after his death, some might say he succeeded.For this remarkable exhibition, unique to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, visitors have an unprecedented opportunity to closely examine the intricate and amazing life-size figures that were buried with the First Emperor. The more recent discoveries in the exhibition include three exquisite bronze birds designed to entertain the Emperor in the afterlife, exquisite pottery and beautiful jewellery, and suits of armour for his warriors.These Chinese national treasures can normally only be viewed at a distance, in the vast earthen pits where they were first discovered. This is a rare opportunity to see the legendary warriors up close, examine the details and intricacies of individual pieces, and gain a glimpse into the vanished world of Qin Shihuang.

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