On March 29, 1974, the Terra Cotta Warriors were discovered in Xian, China. Local farmers came across pieces of a clay figure, and these shards led to the discovery of an ancient tomb, vast in its size and number of artifacts. The tomb belonged to Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China.

In the large and elaborate tomb, more than 1,000 sculptures of horses and warriors in full armor were found standing in battle formation. Most warriors stand more than 2 meters (6 feet) tall and weigh about 272 kilograms (600 pounds). Each warrior has unique characteristics—facial features, hairstyles, clothing, or pose.

All excavated warriors remain in battle position and are on display in their original setting.

armor
Noun

protective covering.

Noun

material remains of a culture, such as tools, clothing, or food.

characteristic
Adjective

particular feature of an organism.

display
Verb

to show or reveal.

elaborate
Adjective

complex and detailed.

emperor
Noun

ruler of an empire.

excavate
Verb

to expose by digging.

farmer
Noun

person who cultivates land and raises crops.

Qin Shi Huangdi
Noun

(259-210 BCE) first emperor of China.

sculpture
Noun

three-dimensional artwork that is carved, molded, or modeled to create its shape.

Terra Cotta Warriors
Noun

(~210 BCE) collection of thousands of life-size clay figures of soldiers, horses, chariots, and other artifacts in Xian, China, buried with Qin Shi Huangdi, China's first emperor.

tomb
Noun

enclosed burial place.