The Terra Cotta Army: China’s First Emperor and the Birth of a Nation
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Weaving together history and a first-hand account of his experiences in China, John Man tells the fascinating story of how and why these astonishing figures were created in the third century BC, and how they have become a symbol of China’s history, culture, and society.
irrigation and managed the food supply to the army; and the army itself, a large, professional force. The army was the nation’s spearhead: tough, mobile and highly disciplined, the product of years of training for men and commanders alike. They could march 50 kilometres a day in leather armour, carrying crossbows, pikes, swords, and provisions for three days. The main force, which could be divided, was backed up by separate groups of reinforcements, the whole being coordinated by messengers in
by small figures in wood, clay, bronze, stone and jade; and real sacrificial vessels in bronze were increasingly replaced by ‘fake’ ones in pottery, so-called ‘spirit vessels’, which did not even have to be baked hard. They were, in a sense, toys. In the words of the German scholar of Chinese art Lothar Ledderose, ‘The tomb represents, idealizes and perpetuates the reality of life on earth.’ The toy artefacts, together with a rich array of everyday and ritual objects, provided the elements from
you would be hard-pressed to find racial differences (which are well represented in the little figures in the Han tombs at Yangling). Impeccable hair, 3 The definitive statement on this matter is by Eleanor von Erdberg in ‘Die Soldaten Shih Huang Ti’s’. 144 MAKING THE ETERNAL ARMY neat eyebrows, trim moustaches, every eyelid delineated: they are all suspiciously good-looking, as idealized as a Michelangelo Christ, with expressions, or rather lack of them, to match – inscrutable, calm, with
grandsons is enough to make the blood run cold. The skilful man turns disaster into blessing. How will you proceed? LI SI (casting his eyes to heaven, weeping and sighing): Alas! That I alone should face such troubled 167 B E Y O N D T H E G R AV E times! Since I must live, what fate can I hope for? With this, he too came on board. And the conspiracy that Sima Qian refers to as the Sand Hill Plot moved forward. The three destroyed the original letter and concocted an imperial edict making
conscripts were being transported to their garrison. Heavy rain delayed them, and delay of any kind was an offence. The three commanders would exonerate themselves with excuses, but the two sergeants would be executed for dereliction. The two men, a former farmhand called Chen She and his sidekick Wu Guang, conferred. As things stood, they faced inevitable death, whereas if they revolted, though they would also face death if defeated, they would at least have a chance.1 1 Sima Qian includes an