instagram vimeo youtube pinterest bloglovin


China’s Terracotta Army

Right to left: Commanding Officer, an archer and infantry soldier terracotta army
Right to left: Commanding Officer, an archer and infantry soldier.
I visited the Museum of "Volkenkunde" last week and ofcourse I had to view the Terracotta Soldiers! I have a lot more on the Museum so I will probably spread it out in a view posts. I also saw the new exhibition, "the story of the Totem pole". I'm sorry about the high noise in my pictures, my old camera couldn't handle the dark conditions in the musea! I still hope you'll enjoy them as much as I enjoyed the musea.

China’s Terracotta Army, Archer
"The highly militarized state of Qin (221-206 B.C.) unified China for the first time in her history in 221 Qin (tsjin), from which the name “China” derives, enforced standards in government and society never previously experienced. It expanded the forms of work and concepts of art used in the manufacture of over seven thousand terracotta soldiers as guardians for the tomb of Qun Shihuang, the First Emperor of Qin. The unexpected discovery of this army in 1974 revealed a visual power and mass quite without parallel. This exhibition’s three soldiers and other artifacts are temporally loaned from China. They help explain past and present dimensions of China’s culture, and offer new insights into the Ethnology Museum’s China collections displayed in the same space. The Museum is deeply grateful to the Chinese authorities and the Shaanxi provincial archaeological service and museums for this unprecedented opportunity to cooperate in exhibiting China’s cultural heritage to the Dutch and international audiences. (Text from Museum)"
The laughing Buddha, Milofu,
This is the god Milofu, also known as the laughing Buddha. He is the first one to succeed the real Buddha, Sakyamuni. They say that if the Mount Everest is rubbed with a silk cloth, it’s the laughing Buddha’s turn. He would have to wait a long time, don’t you think? (Text from Museum, translation by me)

The New year’s feast
The New year’s feast
The Chinese celebrate the beginning of a new year in January or February. Every year at another day. The feast last three days and there’s lots of fireworks. There is even a dancing dragon. The dragon is very important in China. He guards the good and evil. (Text from Museum, translated by me)

Model of manufacturing terracotta army
Model of manufacturing terracotta army
When exactly work began is still debated, but the potters assigned to completing some 7000 figures needed perhaps ten years, and evidently they had not finished when the emperor dies (210 B.C.). They owned their success to a rigorous division of labour, the use of rapid techniques, such as moulding and rolling, and to their strict adherence to standard dimensions and forms over a long period. They combined these methods into a system of assembly line, whose successive stages are show in this highly plausible recreation. (Fibreglass, 20th century, loan: Shaanxi Cultural Heritage Promotion Center). (Text from Museum)

China’s Terracotta Army Archer
Commanding Officer, China's Terracotta Army
China's Terracotta Army infantry soldier, infantry soldier china's terracotta army
Ongoing excavations show that the soldiers stood in three covered pits, assembled in formations closely matched by the surviving instructions of Qin military strategists. Army ranks, functional divisions (infantry, archers, cavalry, chariot drivers), terracotta horses and real chariots created a thoroughly believable presence. Further enhanced by surface painting now mostly vanished. Because each figure is life-size, its grasp of a real weapon appears all the more authentic. Hierarchy and realism project the image of an army prepared to act with force, which was precisely its purpose in the Qin conception of an afterlife. (Text from Museum)


  1. Looks great!

  2. I wish I got to see these in person! They are simply an inspiration, and a source of controversy, as some people argue that viewing a select few statues takes away from the awe-striking effect of viewing the entire tomb with over eight thousand soldiers. However it's great seeing more nations able to appreciate China's history. I think it's amazing that none of these are attributed to famous artists; in fact, scholars think that they were made by simple plumbers because of their simple yet sturdy craftsmanship.

    Wonderful post; I look forward to more!

    d a n i e l l e | daniellewu.comGiveaway: win a shopping spree to FirmooGlasses!

  3. Well I think the entire tomb would be absolutely mind blowing to see. As is the price of the plain ticket to China etc.. etc.. I hope I can visit it someday!

    Most likely they were made by simple plumbers, the "Model of manufacturing terracotta army" looks quite like an assembly line too!

    I bet you will like the part with the Wayang puppets! They always fascinate me!

  4. You sure love Chinese history
    and art! De terracotta leger is
    een van de dingen die mij

    altijd triggers, omdat deze

    kunstwerken niet geplunderd
    zijn door de Engelse en dat
    deze pas veeel later ontdekt


  5. Can't help it! As a kid I always found this more intresting than the Dutch history!
    (Though the Greek and Romans were pretty cool too! Or the aztecs and- well you get the idea!)

    Ja best laat! 1974! :o
    Any idea why actually?