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Xi'an's Terra-Cotta Army: Eighth Wonder of the World?

Xi'an's Terra-Cotta Army: Eighth Wonder of the World?

Tourists fill up the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum in Xi'an | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/Airnup

There are not only seven but numerous wonders that make Earth a distinguished planet among the rest, but the Xi'an Terra-cotta army is recognized by some as the "eighth" wonder of the world.

The reason behind is obvious — none of the more than 8,000 life-sized figures are alike. This could only mean that the ancient craftsmen who took time sculpting the figures had the ultimate creativity to come up with such art.

According to CNN, the first warrior was "discovered by chance" by some local farmers digging a well way back in 1974. After the amazing discovery, numerous archaeologists took interest in the warrior, resulting to three pits excavated, and thousands of Terra-cotta soldiers, horses, and chariots unearthed.

The tall and proud warriors are believed by the Chinese people to have been sculpted over 2,200 years ago, for the purpose of guarding a big shot ruler's tomb. The belief dates back from the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who was the first ruler to see a unified China. His reign lasted from 221-207 B.C. According to tales of the ancient people and experts, the figures may have been crafted to signify the emperor's "craving for eternal greatness."

Du Wenyiyu, a historian at Shaanxi Normal University, noted that the art in each soldier only proves that there was an "extraordinary" skill in each of the sculptors who worked for the great leader.

"The emperor had the strongest army in the world when he was alive, so he wanted the same strong army after he died," Du said.

Aside from the discovery of soldiers and their chariots, musicians, officials in high posts, and even concubines were unearthed in other pits surrounding the site. "He wanted exactly the same grand services and treatment for his afterlife," Du explained.

Probably due to the amount of time that kept the figures underground, a few number of the soldiers were found completely untouched. However, experts worked over the past 40 years to restore the broken pieces that gave life to Xi'an's terra-cotta army.

The site can be found in Lintong, a village about 25 miles from the metropolis of Xi'an, and while thousands of the army now stand above the ground, a majority of the warriors remain beneath, waiting to see the light.