in december 1980, two teams of large painted bronze chariots and horses were unearthed 20 metres west of the mound of emperor qin shihuang's mausoleum. these single shaft four-horse chariots each comprises 3,462 spare parts, and has a body with two compartments, one behind the other, and an elliptical umbrella like canopy. the four horses harnessed to the chariot are 65-67 centimeters tall. the restored bronze chariots and horses are exact imitations of true chariot, horse and driver in half life-size.
the chariots and horses are decorated with coloured drawings against white background. they have been fitted with more than 1,500 piecese of gold and silvers and decorations, looking luxurious, splendid and graceful. probably they were meant for the use of emperor qin shihuang's soul to go on inspection. the bronze chariots and horses were made by lost wax casting, which shows a high level of technology. for instance, the tortoise-shell-like canopy is about 4mm thick, and the window is only 1mm thick on which are many small holes for ventilation. according to a preliminary study, the technology of manufacturing the bronze chariots and horses has involved casting, welding, reveting, inlaying embedding and chiseling. the excavation of the bronze chariots and horses provides extremely valuable material and data for the textual research of the metallurgical technique, the mechanism of the chariot and technological modeling of the qin dynasty.
no.2 bronze chariot and horses now on display were found broken into 1,555 pieces when excavated. after two-and-half years’ careful and painstaking restoration by archaeologists and various specialists, they were formally exhibited in the museum on october 1, 1983. no.1 bronze chariot hand horses are on display from 1988.
No. 1 Chariot : It is the vanguard, a two-wheeled vehicle drawn by a team of four strong horses. There is only one seat for the driver, whose eyes are glued to the road ahead. There is a large umbrella providing shade from the sun.
Measurement: 225 x 126 x 70 cm
No. 2 Chariot : It is larger than the lead chariot. The horses are richly adorned with gold and silver gears. There are three windows, one out front, and one on each side in the compartment, and a door opens at the back. One may open and close the windows and the door, and look in at the exquisite interior. The roof is umbrella shaped, said to be symbolic of the round sky.
When Unearthed, the China Qin Bronze Chariots and Horses Were Broken into Thousands of Pieces
Measurement: 317 (long) x 106 (high) cm
The bronze chariot models add to the nation's great archeological treasures. These represent the largest finds of earliest delicate fine bronze work anywhere in the world.
Bronze chariots in the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor enjoy the fame of "Top Bronze Ware" made in ancient China and represent high artistic and technical level of the Qin Dynasty. As a breakthrough in the fabrication of bronze ware, colored drawing on the ware provides not only aesthetic value, but also protective functions. The bronze chariots are of crucial value in the research of related history, for the era in which they were made is the earliest so far and also, they have the largest figures and are most completely preserved.
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