The First Emperor ± Qin Shihuangdi
Qin Shihuangdi was originally named Ying Zheng. He became King of Qin as a boy of thirteen and from 221BC, after conquering and uniting the surroundingregions, he pronounced himself "First August and Divine Emperor: 'Emperor' toseparate himself from his ancestors who were merely kings and dukes, 'August andDivine' to show that he was equal to god. The word 'China' is derived from 'Qin'.Qin Shihuangdi is remembered for several things. He ruled with ruthless barbarityunifying the numerous warring tribes of the region and transforming China into a powerful political entity. He also simplified and encouraged trade by standardising both the monetary system and the weights and measures system. He ruled that onesingle script must be used nationwide. He was obsessed with control, precision anduniformity and even ruled that the axle widths of all carts must be the same so thatthe carts would fit easily into ruts on the roads that he built.
The Discovery of the Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 and forms part of a massivearchaeological site that includes Qin Shihuangdi's tomb and four large pitscovering a total area of approximately sixty square kilometres. The warriors werethere to defend the tomb. The tomb itself, occupying some 400 square metres isstill sealed.The warriors were discovered in three of the pits covering an area of approximately25,000 square metres. One pit contains the main army. Infantry and cavalry occupythe second pit and the command post is located in the third pit. A fourth pit wasdiscovered empty, presumably left incomplete on the death of Qin Shihuangdi.There are at least 7000 terracotta soldiers and 1000 have been preserved. Everysoldier had individual features and his own personality. Most of the original pigments have disappeared and some individual features are worn but still thedetails are incredible. You clearly see the details of a suit of armour: the higher therank the smaller the links of the armour. Armour with smaller links was moreexpensive to make and more comfortable to wear and therefore only worn by highranking officers. You can also distinguish between the different head gear worn bydifferent warriors.It took more than thirty years to construct the site, from 246BC to 210BC and morethan half a million people worked on it. The site is not yet fully excavated andChinese archaeologists have decided not to open the tomb itself as it may containhigh levels of mercury.Chinese archaeologists have recently identified the exact location of the