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Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses


There is a legend in Chinese ancient capital –Xian, but truly exists and has been lasting for thousands of years. That is Terracotta Army (also named Terracotta Warriors, Terracotta Soldiers), the underworld army of Emperor Qin Shihuang (the first unifier of China, 259BC-210BC), Emperor Qin Shihuang undertook gigantic projects in order to consolidate his power and country like the first version of the Great Wall. Terracotta Army was built at the centre of a complex designed to mirror the urban plan of Xianyang (capital of Qin Dynasty) for conquering the afterlife. The terracotta warriors were unearthed 5 m (16.4 ft) beneath the surface and about 4 km (2.5 mi) east of his mausoleum by a team of well diggers in 1974.

Each terracotta soldier was created with different facial features so that each one is unique from all of the others, an incredible feat considering the many thousands of these that exist at the site

The terracotta warriors and horses were found in 1974, and a large museum was built on the very archeological site and opened to the public on October 1st, National Day, 1979. The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses soon stirred up a sensation all over the world. It was listed as a wonder of ancient times and one of the most significant contemporary archeological excavations in the worl 

It has been said that going to China and not seeing the Terracotta Army is like going to Egypt and missing the Pyramids. Viewing Emperor Qin Shi Huang's terracotta army guarding his burial site and protecting his entry to the afterlife from the earthen side of a continuing archeological project is certainly one of the most memorable parts of any trip to China. The site was made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987.有人说,去中国,不看兵马俑等于没有来中国和去埃及不看金字塔一样。秦始皇兵马俑博物馆,持续性考古项目的是进入来到中国的旅途中最难忘的部分之一。该博物馆是在1987年联合国教科文组织评为世界文化遗产。

Visitors are amazed at the gigantic scale, marvelous scenery and lofty artistic and scientific achievements displayed in the Terracotta Warriors exhibit. Since the opening of the Museum, Xi'an city has also become known as one of the most important tourist cities in China for both domestic and foreign visitors. Numerous distinguished guests and leaders visiting China all schedule their visit so they can see the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses

The terracotta warriors and horses, created about 2,200 years ago, were found in 1974 on the east side of the tomb of the First Emperor Qin Shihuang (259 BC - 210 BC) near Xi'an.Emperor Qin's Terra-cotta army pits are the large attendant pits, located about 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) east of the Emperor QinShihuang's mausoleum, symbolizing the main defending force that guarded the capital before Emperor Qin died .Qin Shi Huang (259-210BC) was the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty and he was the founder of China’s first empire. He expanded his military strength building an army of one million professional soldiers. He started the construction of the Great Wall.
     In preparation for his death he built a replica of his kingdom underground and he was finally laid to rest in the underground palace at its centre. It took over 720 000 people, 37 years to build. The terra-cotta army were created to defend his underground kingdom from attack. When they were first found it was believed that the terra-cotta warriors are all individually designed, based the faces of the Emperors actual soldiers. However, it has since been proved that all the soldiers are based on ten basic designs.The site is now the famous Terra-cotta Museum, which consists of three main buildings, Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3. The three pits occupy an area of 22,000 square meters, housing about 8,000 life-size pottery warriors and horses.


The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum is located about 1.5 km east of Emperor Qinshi Huang’s Mausoleum. The excavation pits are named Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3 by order of their discovery. Pit 1 was discovered by local villagers when they dug a well. Pit 2 and Pit 3 were discovered by archeological exploration. Pit 1 (the largest of all three) is 230 meters long from east to west, 62 meters wide from north to south covering a total area of 14,260 square meters. It is assumed that Pit 1 might hold more than 6,000 clay warriors and horses. Up to now, more than 1000 clay warriors and horses have been excavated. It is really incredible to discover so much life-like pottery.

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Pit 1 is the largest of the three. It contains over 6,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses in a practical battle formation, which is the main force of the underground army. Pit 2, discovered in 1976, contains more than 1,300 pottery figures, which are specialized military forces, including archers, chariots, and cavalries. Pit 3 is the smallest of the three, containing only 68 pottery figures and one chariot. Pit 3 is the command center of the entire army.

Terracotta Warriors Finding the Terra Cotta Warriors
warriors Cotta Pot No. 1.   Production process of Qin Terracotta Army
Third Excavation of Pit 1  Lifelike Terra Cotta Figures
Terracotta Army Pit No.2   Military Formation of Terra Cotta Army
Terra Cotta Pit No. 3  Exquisite Weapons of Terracotta Army
Bronze Chariots  Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors.
terracotta warriors Accessory Pits The Colorful Uniform of Qin Terracotta Figures
  Stone Helmet and Armor near Emperor Qin mausoleum The Statue of Kneeling Archer
 Stories of Terracotta Warriors  Qin Shi Huang Tomb


The terracotta warriors are about 1.8 meters in height on average. Each of them has an individualized appearance, characterized mainly by its facial features, such as the mouth, hairstyle and facial expression. Experts believe they are modeled on real soldiers.兵马俑平均身高大约是1.8米,他们每个人都有很个性化的外观,主要特点就是脸部,如嘴、发行、和面部表情,专家们都认为他们是以真正的军人为蓝本的。

About 600 satellite pits and tombs have been unearthed in the surrounding area of the tomb of the First Emperor since the discovery of terracotta warriors and horses in 1974. Thirty-one pits of rare animals and birds and 98 sets of the stable pits have been unearthed.自从1974年发现兵马俑以来,大约有600多个卫星坑在秦始皇陵的周围地区被出土。31个坑里的珍惜野生动物和鸟类和98个稳定坑已经被出土。

Xian Terra-cotta Army

The well-known Terra-cotta Museum is located east of Emperor Qin's Mausoleum, which covers a total area of 20 hectares. The museum is decorated with green trees. The scenery in the museum are quite elegant and delightful. Three main buildings of the museum, which were named Pit 1,Pit 2, Pit 3, were set up on their original sites in different periods of time.
It is recorded that in March, 1974, the farmers from Xiyang Village of Yanzhai Township in Lintong District of Xian accidentally discovered many broken pottery figures while digging a well, 1.5 km away to east of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Tomb. After archaeological Xian Terra-cotta Armyexcavation and careful research, it turned out to be a pit in which were buried terra-cotta warriors and horses from the Qin Dynasty. In 1976, after drilling, another two pits were found one by one nearby. They were named Pit 1, 2 and 3 according to the timing of discovery with a total area of 22,780 square metres.
据记载,1974年3月,在西安临潼区的沿寨乡西羊村农民在秦始皇陵墓以东1.5公里出挖井时,无意中发现了许多破碎的陶器的陶俑。经过仔细研究和考古发掘,它原来是一个被埋藏在其中的秦兵马俑坑和马匹。 1976年,经过钻探,发现了附近另外两个坑。根据发现的时间,它们分别命名为必一,二,三号坑,总面积约为22780平米

This profound discovery made a sensation across the whole world! In 1975, the State Council offered permission that a museum with an area of 16,300 square metres be built on the site of Pit No. 1 at the aim of protecting the valuable historical relics. The museum was officially finished and opened to the public on October 01, National Day, 1979. The exhibition hall of Pit No. 3 was finished and opned to the public on September 27, 1989. 5 years later, the exhibition hall of Pit No. 2 was open to the public in October, 1994. The museum and the mausoleum are listed the world's cultural legacies as the UNESCO.这个惊人的发现惊动了整个世界,1975年,国务院允许在原址上建立一个16300平米的博物馆来保护这些历史文物。该博物馆正式竣工并于1979年10月1日国庆节向公众开放,3号展厅于1989年9月7日开放,5年后,2号展馆也相继于1994年10月1日开放博物馆和陵墓被世界教科文组织命名为世界文化遗产。

Pit No. 1 is in an oblong shape of tunnel. It is 230 metres long from east to west and 62 metres wide from north to south. It is 5 metres deep. It occupies an area of 14,260 square metres. Inside the tunnel, there are ten earth-rammed partition walls. The floors are bricks-paved. The terra-cotta warriors and horses in Pit No. 1 are lined in a real battle formation. To the east end of the pit stand facing east three rows of terra-cotta warriors in battle tunics and puttees, 70 in each row with total number of 210 put altogether. Armed with bows and arrows, they form the vanguard. There are 38 columns of warriors in the east with horse-drawn chariots in the centre. The armour-clad warriors carrying long-shaft weapons are probably the main body of the formation and show the main force.

1号坑是一个椭圆形的形状,由东至西共230米长,由北至南62米宽。有5米深,占地面积14260平米,隧道的,有10个地球撞隔墙。地板是砖铺成的。在兵马俑一号坑,并在一个真正的战斗队形排列马匹。对于这些坑东端的立场面对在战场长袍和绑腿,每行70 总数210,一共三排。手持弓箭,它们形成的先锋队。中心东边共有38列俑和铜车马。该装甲的战士很可能是形成主体和显示的主要力量。

Pit No. 2 is situated 20 metres to the north of Pit No. 1. The Pit is L--shaped and composed of four different mixed military forces in four rows. It is recorded that there were more than 1, 000 pieces of pottery figures, 500 horse-driven chariots and saddled horses. The pit is about 6,000 square metres.


Pit No. 3 is situated 25 metres to the north of Pit No. 1 and to the west of Pit No. 2. Tthe pit is in the concave shape with 520 square metres. From the pit were discovered one chariot, four terra-cotta horses and 68 clay armoured warriors. In Pit No. 3 were only unearthed one kind of weapon called "shu", which had no blades and are said to be used by the guards of honour. Discovered also in this pit were a re- maining deer-horn and animal bones. This is maybe the site where sacrificial offerings and war prayers were practiced.


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In December 1980, two sets of large painted bronze chariots and horses were unearthed 20 metres west of the tomb of the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty. They were listed as No.1 and No.2 respectively according to their discovery. They were then enclosed in a wooden coffin and buried in a pit seven metres deep. When excavated, the chariots and horses were seriously damaged due to the decayed wooden coffin and the collapse of earthen layers. No.2 bronze chariot and horses were found broken into 1555 pieces when excavated. After two-and-half years of careful and painstaking restoration by archaeologists and other experts they were formally open to the public on October 1, 1983. No.1 bronze chariot and horses were also open to the public in 1988.


The Terracotta Warriors have a high aesthetic value in art history. The artists who created and molded them made every effort to make them as life-like as possible. Their artistic approach shows a combination of delicateness and forthright attitude. The facial expressions and gestures of each warrior vary. One can tell the status of a warrior such as the official/soldier or infantry/cavalry only by looking at his clothing, facial expression and gestures. There are long-bearded veterans from the battlefield and young fresh recruits. The terracotta general is about 1.95 meters high, standing majestically with a mighty, firm facial expression. With his head held high and eyes starring, one terracotta soldier can be seen to be high-spirited but still carrying some hint of childishness. Another soldier with armor and spear has his hand on a chariot. This shows that he was a guarding soldier. These magnificent, reconstructed troops depict the military might of Qin Shi Huang in his effort to unify ancient China.     

terracotta warriors interesting facts


The unique life-size terracotta warriors vary in height (183 - 195cm), uniform and hairstyle according to their rank (the tallest being the generals) and their detail is astounding. Even the body armour rivet heads stand out and fine tread patterns have been mounded onto kneeling warriors the shoe soles. 独特的真人大小的兵马俑的高度不同(183 - 195厘米),制服和发型根据其职级(最高的是将军)也有所不同,令人咋舌。头带盔甲,脚踩踏板的跪射俑

The size, coloured lacquer finish, facial expressions, and real weapons from battle make them eerily lifelike. And although many of the original weapons were stolen and the colouring has faded greatly, they are still uncannily realistic. Interestingly, the weapons which were found were treated to make them resistant to rust and corrosion so that even after being buried for over 2000 years they were still sharp and ready for battle.


  1.  We've only uncovered a small fraction of the total 'army' of figures: experts currently place the entire number of soldiers at 8,000 – with 130 chariots, 530 horses and 150 cavalry horses helping to ward of any dangers in the after life. So far only just over 1,000 soldiers are on display at the emperor's famous mausoleum, near the ancient capital of Xi'an, Shaanxi province. 到目前为止,我们只发现了整个军队的一小部分陶俑,专家们近来一共发现了8000个士兵---和130个战车、530匹马和150个战车马,协助来抵御以后的敌侵。到目前为止。只有1000个士兵展出在陕西省西安市附近的秦始皇陵博物馆。
  2. In fact, archaeologists have just recently begun to excavate the third of the three burial pits containing the warriors. Work commenced on Saturday, June 6th this year and is expected to proffer at least hundreds more of the famous figures. This time, however, experts are keen to keep the vivid colours, found on all terracotta warriors thus far, intact. All previous soldiers have turned an oxidised grey when exposed to air. 事实上,考古学家已经发掘出了三分之一。今年7月六日,至少有估计至少有几百陶俑被发掘,然而这一次,专家们希望能够保持她们鲜艳的颜色,现在所发现的兵马俑完好无损,以前的士兵全都暴露在空气中,当遇到空气他们都会腐蚀。
  3. The Chinese historian Sima Qian wrote in the 2nd century BC - a full hundred years after the Emperor's death - that over 700,000 men took 36 years to create his terracotta army. Modern historians feel Sima may have been slightly economical with the truth, and argue as few as 16,000 men could have done the job in just two years. 据中国历史学家司马迁在公元钱2世纪所写的---皇帝死后的整一百年--有超过700000个人花费36年时间去建造这些兵马俑,现代的历史学家认为司马迁约有真理经济,有争论称有至少16000人仅仅花费两年时间就建造了这些兵马俑。
  4.  The First Qin Emperor didn't just want an army to protect him in the afterlife: a 1999 excavation at the site uncovered eleven terracotta acrobats and strongmen. Popular performers 2,000 years ago, the acts would have been meant to entertain the emperor in his journey through the afterlife.始皇不仅仅是想要这些军队来保护他的后世,1999年考古发掘现场发现了11个杂技俑和很强壮的人,这在2000年前是非常出名的,这个场景演绎的就是秦始皇在他们后世的娱乐场景。
  5.   Qin Shi Huang was terrified of death - but allegedly died from taking too many mercury pills, which he thought would give him immortality 秦始皇惧怕死亡,所以他就一直在找长生不老药,他认为那个可以让他长生不老。
  6.  The First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, was terrified of death and was constantly searching for the so-called 'elixir of life'. After allegedly sending 8,000 people on expeditions to find his cure unsuccessfully (they never returned, knowing they'd be killed without the elixir – legend says they founded Japan), Qin relied on mercury tablets in increasing doses, until they killed him aged 50. How ironic.始皇恐惧死亡,所以他在一直寻找一种可以让他长生不老的药,他发配8000人去寻找可以治愈成功的药。(他们都没有再回来,据说他们知道找不到,所以都被杀死了,最后发现于日本。)在他50岁死之前,他还一直在和水银片,而且剂量不断的增加,这是多么可怕的一件事。
  7.  The Emperor was extremely proud of his cavernous tomb. So proud, in fact, that he promptly murdered its creators to sustain a resounding enigma which endures to this day. Only recently have probes entered the giant subterranean complex, which contains high levels of mercury – appearing to confirm the above legend. 皇帝非常以它的海绵状陵墓感到自豪。事实上,他立即杀死了创造者,以至于将这个谜底维持到今天。知道最近,探头才进入复杂的地下宫殿,里面有高浓度的水银--可以正式以上的传说是真正的。
  8. Though each terracotta warrior is unique, experts believe a set number of facial moulds were actually used, before workmen added clay to make each one distinct. Each limb and the head was created separately before being fixed to the torso. 每一个陶俑都是唯一,专家相信在工人将粘土弄在每一个俑的身上时,许多的面庞都是现实中的,每一个肢体和头部在创作之前都是先固定在身体的躯干上的
  9.  You won't just find terracotta warriors in the middle of China, or the world's biggest museums. The living terracotta warrior, DC ahead of the city's National Geographic Museum's terracotta warriors exhibition. You can keep tabs on Chi's progress on the National Geographic's Facebook profile.在中国的中部您不仅可以找到兵马俑或者世界最大的博物馆、鲜活的兵马俑。国家地理博物馆的兵马俑展品,您可以在智力国家地理博物馆找到有关兵马俑的资料。

The Terracotta Army figures supply abundant and detailed artifacts for the study of the military, cultural and economic history of that period. The Terracotta Army figures excavation was regarded as one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. In December 1987, UNESCO selected the Tomb of the First Emperor (including the Terracotta Army Vaults) as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Standing in the vaults, you would be amazed by such a grand ancient army formation, which would transport you back to the ancient warring states period. The tomb is a treasury for the Chinese people, and for the whole world as well.

The discovery of Terracotta Warrior of Qin is one wonder in the Chinese sculpture history and also the world sculpture history, which changes the perspective of the people against the oriental sculpture arts. Before the discovery of the Terracotta Warrior, whenever mentioned world ancient sculpture arts history, Greece is always the topic and Roman always taken as the example, however nothing worthy of appraise with regard to ancient oriental sculpture arts. However, the Terracotta Warrior, with the grand vigour, portrait and sketch features, simple and bright art style, and profound technics, embody the “inner vitality, affection & soul, wind & bone and spirit”. It represents the style and feature of Chinese realism arts, which undertakes a connecting link between the preceding and the following, and obtains the function of carrying forward the cause and forge ahead into the future in Chinese sculpture arts history, and develops a school of its own in the world classical sculpture arts history; it’s a bright pearl among ancient oriental arts.

The weapon unearthed from the pits is also the rare data for studying ancient weapon history and scientific history. The varieties include bow & crossbow, dagger, spear, halbert, stone axes, halberd, golden hook, etc, which vigorously enrich the content of study on Qin weapons. Wherein, the discovery and study on the standardization processes, the chemical antisepticising processing technique of weapon surface, and the creating of new technique of chrome salt processing fill up the blank of study on ancient scientific history. All these are the wonder in metallurgy history, which testifies that the metallurgy level of our country more than 2000 year before ranked the leading position of the world.

Terracotta Warriors are the part of Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, locating 3/2 km away from east gate of the outer city of the mausoleum, and the clusters buried with the dead which representing the guards. The grand lineup with boundless vigour is the art representation reflecting the reality, makes the visitors feel like facing the soldiers of Qin Dynasty and among the position of Qin army, with vigorous attraction of historical and cultural relics and arts. Therefore, it drew great attention once it was discovered, bringing strong influence in China and broad, and was called “the 8th Wonder of the World”.

The pits are the underground construction with civil engineering structure. The construction project of the pits started from around 221 BC after the unification of six countries through to 209 BC when it stopped due to the peasant’s revolt. Although experiencing the natural and artificial damage, the pits still leave us a treasury of historical and cultural relics, containing extremely rich meanings.

The chariot soldier tomb figures, footmen and cavalrymen of Terracotta Warriors formed various battle arrays, ready to embattle and attack the enemies, and guarded the safety of the underground kingdom of Qin Shi Huang.

These cavalier tomb figures are with a height of around 1.7 m, the highest 1.9 m. The pottery horses are with a height of around 1.5 m, and the length around 2 m. The size of war wagons is different from that of the practical wagons. Person, horse wagon and army array are the art representation through the realism technique.

Among the pits, most are cavalier tomb figures, most of who hold bronze weapons, incl. bow, crossbow, arrow, spear, dagger, halberd, sword, curved knife and stone axes. Thanks to antisepticising treatment and more than 2000 years’ burying underground, the bronze weapons are still bright and sharp as new till today; they’re the actual combat weapons, the loricae with dense armour patches for dressing, and the fringes weaved by colorful strings before the bosom of the time. The administrative officers wear long crown, and the number of which is bigger than that of the military officers.

The face shape, bodily form, expression and age of the Qin terracotta warriors are different. Due to the conscription system adopted among the whole countries after the unification of six countries, the soldiers came from different places which may be the main reason resulting in their difference in the face shape, expression and age. The craftsmen made them vivid by the realism art technique, and among the huge terracotta warrior cluster contain lots of different individuals, which make the whole cluster more active, real and rich of vitality.

In short, the pottery figures and bronze weapons show the distinct characteristics of the times. They are a treasure house of sculpture art and the glory of ancient Chinese culture. They also add a glorious page to the book of world art history.

How to Get There:

Terra-Cotta Warriors is located to the east of Xi’an in Lingtong County. A visit to the Terra-Cotta Warriors is usually combined with a visit to some of the following sites: Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, Qin Shi Huang’s Palace,
Banpo Neolithic Village and Huaqing Pool.

Public Bus number 306, which is also called bus number 游5 (you 5, travel 5), travels from the train station, along the east route to it’s terminus at The Museum of Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang. Along the way it also stops at Huaqing Pool, Lingtong Museum, Qin Shi Huang’s Palace and the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang.


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