The Terra-cotta Army is not only a huge subterranean military battle formation, but also an armory of the Qin Dynasty. Approximately tens of thousands of weapons have been unearthed from the partly excavated section of the pits. The weapons can be divided into three categories: long weapons, short weapons and long range weapons, such as spear, halberd, Shu, Pi, sword, Wu hook and cross-bow etc. Especially Pi and Wu hook are the first of their kind so far unearthed.
Rows of figures awaiting reconstruction. The process is a giant jigsaw puzzle whose pieces may yet be removed from the earth.
Terra Cotta figure still partially embedded in the earth surrounded by other pieces.
With the discovery of the terra cotta army the grandeur and magnificence of the forces of Emperor Qin came to light. Each figurine was armed with a bronze weapon of that period. Over 10,000 bronze weapons have been excavated so far from the site. These include swords, daggers, billhooks, spears, halberds, axes, crossbow triggers, and arrowheads.
In ancient Chinese records there is much about Pi Weapon, but no complete weapon has ever been unearthed. Pi weapon belongs to long weapons. Its head is about 30 cm long and looks like a dagger. A 3-meter long shaft is attached to its head. Pi is such kind of sharp weapons used to bayonet.
Sword Swords had the highest rank among the weapons in ancient China and were carried by well-known or high-ranking people. About 17 swords have been discovered so far from the Terra-cotta Pits. Besides the general, some officers have swords in their hands, too. The longest sword is about 94.4cm, and the shortest one is 81 cm. The sword discovered intact from Pit 1 originally would have been kept in a wooden scabbard that has been rooted. Its blade is narrow and thin with a ridge along the center. According to analysis, the surface of the sword contains 0.6 to 2% chromium, with a thickness of 10 micron, which acted as a protective coating against corrosion during the long burial. The modern chrome-plating technology appeared in western countries in 1920s to 1930s, but it had emerged in China 2,200 years before. In style and appearance the sword resembles the classic Zhou sword with continued to be used in the succeeding Han Dynasty.Scientific testing reveals that the surface of the sword contains chromium, with a thickness of 10 to 15 micron, which acted as a protected coating against corrosion. The chrome-plating technolgoy was invented by the Germans, Americans in 1937 and 1950, but it had emerged in China 2200 years before.
Spear The bronze spears are still sharp and exquisite when they unearthed in the Terra Cotta Pits. Unlike the bronze spears of the Wu and Yue States which have gorgeous decoration, Qin spears focus on actual combat performance, which reflect on the spears' simple and fluent lines, strong body, wide and flat shape as well as on its sharp blade.
Wu hook Wu hook belongs to short weapons. It looks like a crescent moon and there are blades on blades on both edges. Its head is flat and easy to hook, It first appeared in the State of "Wu " , hence the name "Wu hook " .
Crossbows and arrowheads belong to long range weapons. The trigger mechanism for a crossbow is a type that, having been invented towards the end of the Zhou Dynasty, quickly found favors and was widely used in Qin Dynasty. The trigger is composed of four separately cast pieces and is very much more powerful than any of its contemporary weapons as it could, fire a bronze arrowhead a distance of 800 meters. The arrowhead is the largest of 800 meters. The arrowheads, the largest number among the weapons unearthed, are extremely sharp.
Dagger-Axe During the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, the dagger-axe is a pointed weapon commonly used in combat. It has long styles and short styles which are divided by the length of the handle. But there was only one dagger-axe unearthed in Pit 1, which means that dagger-axe, as weaponry, in the Qin Dynasty is not as important as it in Shang and Zhou Dynasties. Besides, we found the Pi which look like short swords, and Shu which are cylindrically shaped and used only in ceremonies in the Terra Cotta Pits.
The amazing bronze weapons reveal the dynamic metallurgical attainments of Qin. The weapons were cast and modeled to a standard shape and then were filed, chiseled, drilled and polished to have sharp blade, shiny luster and subtlety. A bronze sword unearthed had two symmetrical blades and from the handle to the end, gradually became narrower and thinner. It was technically highly advanced for that period.
Excavated materials also demonstrate that the production of alloys was highly scientific. The hardness and tenacity of the metals were determined by the proportion of the copper to tin in the alloys that were used to make a weapon. Copper was appropriately proportioned with 11 other elements such as nickel, magnesium, cobalt, and chrome. It coincides with an ancient book, which records the precise proportions of copper and tin for six kinds of bronze ware. For instance, an arrowhead contained a poisonous percentage of lead for greater killing power. It shows that during the Qin dynasty, people, through careful practice and detailed research, had established considerable scientific standards for metal production.
Otherwise, weapons were finely coated with a 10-micron layer of rustproof chromic salt oxide - which was not applied in Europe and America until contemporary times. Weapons usually feature a long shaft with the longest of 3.82 meters.