The Terracotta Warriors have returned to the UK. In an exhibition being staged at Liverpools World Museum
, this is the first time in more than 30 years that spectacular Class 1 National Cultural Treasures from the tomb of Chinas First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, have been brought to a museum in the UK outside London.
Planned for a run of more than six months, from February to October 2018, visitors to World Museum are being given a glimpse into the extraordinary story of Qin Shihuangdi, the First Emperor of China (221 to 206 BC). His vast burial site and tomb complex was discovered near Xian in North West China in 1974, and the story of the tombs Terracotta Warriors is being displayed alongside important artefacts and research relating to the formative years of the Chinese nation, from the pre-unification Qin Kings (307 to 221 BC) to the First Emperors legacy in the Han Dynasty (206BC to 220AD).
Since 1974, archaeologists have unearthed more than 8,000 life-sized Terracotta Warriors near Xian - each with individual clothing, hair and facial features and have located more than 600 pits around the Emperors mausoleum, covering an area of 22 square miles. New discoveries are continually coming to light, which indicate that Emperor Qin wished to take the entire universe with him into the afterlife.
The tradition of burial practice was continued by the Emperors successors in the later Han Dynasty, who constructed vast underground chambers and passageways filled with food and drink as well as clay servants and animals; everything the Emperors would need to ensure they enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle for eternity in their underground palaces.
World Museums exhibition includes material from museums and institutes from across Shaanxi Province - where the First Emperor and his ancestors came from - excavated over the last 40 years from the Imperial Mausoleum and selected tombs. These spectacular artefacts dating from 307 BC to the 2nd century AD, along with remarkable recent archaeological discoveries, not only shed light on the pursuit of immortality and how Chinas Emperors prepared for the afterlife, but also help us to understand more about everyday life in China over two thousand years ago.
World Museums Terracotta Warriors exhibition is a major part of Liverpools 2018 celebrations, marking 10 years since the city held the title of European Capital of Culture 2008.