Terracotta Warriors

Pam and I have a friend who lives on Vashon Island near Seattle, Washington whom I had not seen since 2003.  We knew that we would stop for a visit but neither of us had any real desire to go in to the city.  What we learned as we go closer to having a real date for arrival was that there was a Terracotta Warrior exhibit in Seattle at the Pacific Science Center.  Well, now we had a good reason to go to the city and it was the only thing we saw in Seattle.  The exhibit was amazing. Non flash photography was encouraged and most people used their phones, however, I used a Canon PowerShot SX720 HS digital camera.  It gave me the opportunity to get some amazing low light shots with very little blurring.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This was the guardian at the entrance to the exhibit.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The minimal armor and complex headgear suggest that this was a high ranking officer. Note the different color of his face than the rest of him. His shoes are also plain style with curved toes.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This view of the high ranking soldier gives details of the uniform. He was not wearing the large scaled. heavy, stone armor but some small scales with layers of heavy leather around his waist and covering his shoulders. His headgear and top knot are also extremely ornate.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The close up of his head shows details of his hair, beard and headgear. There is so much detail to each of the warriors including ears.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This warrior had a sword under his left palm sticking into the ground. His other hand is making some sort of gesture with the index finger and note the different style of armor he is wearing.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This is the front of the kneeling warrior and his increased armor. As a soldier I do not think that I would enjoy wearing such heavy armor and when I gained rank I think I would readily shed weight and risk having less armor. It would not be a bravery thing just a comfort thing that seems brave.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Compare the two types of headgear on these two warriors and note the completely different features. Each of the terracotta warriors was completely different and unique just like individual people. This leads to speculation about why they were created in this fashion and what was their purpose.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This kneeling warrior has a large amount of armor on both his shoulders and down his back that signifies his low rank. He also has interesting headgear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
A detail of the closed shoe officer with light armor and another type of headgear he stands near a scale model of horses that were with the warriors. They are all around six feet tall or a little taller according to the docents. They further stated that this was taller than the average man at the time. I suggested that if I had unlimited resources and population to draw upon as an Emperor, I would have an army of ‘six footers’ just to intimidate my enemies.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The horse was sculpted to scale as well. This animal has a ‘hair do’ and striking features.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This view of the horse next to the warrior shows the scale and details of the saddle. There is still color on the leather wrap of the horses tail. Such a fashionable animal.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The kneeling archer in profile showing his bare feet and his headgear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This is a kneeling archer. He has no armor and simple headgear. His right hand would have held a bow. This example was pieced back together from pieces in the excavation. It is also noteworthy that there is still some color left on the terracotta.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This warrior has more armor on his shoulders and has different headgear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
A warrior who would have been holding reins to the horses pulling his chariot. Behind him is the excavation as it looks on exhibit in China. Note the huge berm of earth on the right side separating a whole other column of warriors
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The chariot driver and a better view of the grandeur of the excavation in China. At least six columns are visible in this photo.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
A coated soldier with his hands tucked into the sleeves. This my have been to stay warm and not burden them with gloves.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The fine detail of the hair and the ear would not be possible for tourists to see if they visited these magnificent warriors in China.

I found the shoes that these statues wear were pretty interesting in their detail.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
Plain shoe and most common design across the ten warriors presented in the exhibit.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
The plain shoe with a bow tied across. It is unclear if the bow was for some tie for the shoe or for the pants.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
The plain shoe and bow with a different type of pants.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
A completely enclosed shoe with a seam down the center and a bow. The docents stated that the shoes were a part of the uniform and the more ornate and less armored uniforms signified a higher rank. Higher rank meant they were to be braver than their subordinates. This style of shoe was on a lightly armored soldier, an officer.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
A plain shoe that has a curved toe space.

There were a smaller set of different terracotta people and I enjoyed the amazing detail they were created with.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
There were some terracotta warriors on display from another excavation of another time period and clearly the scale of the warriors grew to life-size proportions.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
These displays have a tremendous amount of detail and amazingly remain heavily colored.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Note the details of the man’s face and the reigns he is holding.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Note the details of the tack and the headgear of the horse.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Such ornaments on a model suggest that the real ones were even more splendid. What purpose did these models serve?

The color on the reproductions is also quite vivid and highlights so much of the detail of the statues.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Notice how clearly the lines of his hair appear under his head covering.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
These examples show the color of the individuals and reinforces the details of not only the terracotta work but then the paint schemes
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Reproduction warriors painted and standing like they were found. The Pacific Science Center stated that their exhibit provided closer access and the ability to photograph the warriors unlike what we would be able to do in China.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This scene shows what the excavation scene looked like in China. This represents a small part of the scale visitors to the homeland exhibit would see.

There were many other 3rd century artifacts throughout the exhibit and I only took pictures of a few of them.  The real jewel of the exhibit was the life size warriors and that is where my focus remained.

To finish this post here are some pictures of stone armor like what is depicted on the terracotta statues.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Stone armor in original state. There is a lack of decay in the binding holding the stone scales together. This allowed for some very accurate reconstruction of armor that did not fare as well.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Stone armor helmet reconstruction using original stone scales. As a former soldier who has worn several iterations of combat helmet, this design would have greatly hampered the soldier’s ability to hear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This is a reconstructed stone armor suit made from actual stone armor scales.

 

2 thoughts on “Terracotta Warriors

  1. Wow, I’ve seen pictures of this exhibit, but I never realized how many warriors there are. And horsies, I didn’t know there were horsies too. Amazing? How heavy do you think a full set of stone armor is?

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    1. As I explained in the captions on some of the pictures the armor was probably very heavy, which is why the senior officers wore less than the peons. They attribute the lack of armor on the senior officers to bravery but I posit that if I were a senior officer I would not want to wear all that weight. I certainly would not hesitate to let the soldiers think that my lack of armor was due to my bravery.

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