Imperial leader. Fearsome tyrant. Military genius. Avid anti-intellectual. Obsessive star-gazer. Enduring mystery.
The First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE) was all these things and more. His storied legacy is rich with enduring achievements, including the unification of China under centralized imperial rule, brilliant military systems and advanced engineering and assembly production. He is also reputed to have burned scores of books, buried scholars alive and achieved widespread domination through devastating bloodshed.
The First Emperor conquered much in this life, but his driving purpose was even greater: He sought to conquer death. In order to achieve immortality, he built himself a tomb—a vast underground city guarded by a life-size terracotta army including warriors, infantrymen, horses, chariots and all their attendant armor and weaponry.
First unearthed in 1974, the underground burial complex of the First Emperor is a revelation for the ages, an astonishing discovery on par with Egypt’s mummies and elaborate tombs. Contemporary observers continue to be enthralled by his legacy, and it is through this ongoing interest that the First Emperor did indeed achieve immortality. This exhibition includes ten figures—a representative sample of the actual army, which is estimated to include more than 7,000 life-sized figures and over 10,000 weapons.
Tues–Sun 10 AM – 5 PM
Thursday 10 AM – 9 PM