The “Blood-Sweating Horses” Of Ancient China

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Along with the amazing finds from the tomb of the First Emperor, Discovery Times Square also features stunning objects from the tombs of the earliest emperors of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), which replaced the Qin Dynasty. A 2011 excavation of the tomb of the Han emperor Wu Di hopes to confirm the ancient Chinese legend of “blood-sweating” horses:

The legend goes that Emperor Wudi offered a hefty reward for anyone who could find him a mysterious ‘blood-sweating’ purebred horse that was said to have roamed central Asia, but was rarely seen in China,” he said….

Wudi left China’s earliest written record of the breed, in a poem he composed for his Akhal-Teke mount, describing it as a “heavenly horse”.

The horse is known for its speed, endurance and perspiration of a blood-like fluid as it gallops along. It was also believed to be the mount of Genghis Khan (1167-1227).

For more information about the “Blood-Sweating Horse,” click here.

And don’t forget: the stunning Terracotta Warriors exhibit at Discovery Times Square ends on August 26, so buy your tickets now


The Terracotta Warriors: After The Discovery

Want to know what it was like for the people who first discovered and excavated the Terracotta Warriors? This Chinese article (in English) will give you a good look into the lives of some of the men who made that fateful discovery in 1974, and the archaeologists who began the arduous work of uncovering the First Emperor’s massive army. For Yang Zhifa, his discovery has resulted in a job at the local gift shop, where he’s not a fan, apparently, of the media:

Wearing a traditional Chinese-style beige shirt and glasses, gray-haired Yang Zhifa busily signs books in a gift shop in the Museum of Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, sometimes pausing to puff his long-stemmed pipe and blow a cloud of smoke. A huge photo showing U.S. President Bill Clinton meeting him on June 26, 1998, hangs on the wall behind him.

Yang was one of the farmers who first dug up fragments of the terra-cotta army when they were drilling a well in Xiyang Village of Lintong County, 35 kilometers east of Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, 35 years ago.

The 72-year-old bid farewell to farming 14 years ago to work a nine-to-five routine. He now gets a salary of 1,000 yuan (147 U.S. dollars) a month from the gift shop for signing books of which he is not the author.

Yang silently immerses himself in the autographing. His signature is hard to read. If a tourist raises camera, he uses his pipe to tap the plate in front of him, which reads “no photo, no video.”

“I’m tired of signing and the noisy tourists, and I hate those tabloid reporters,” says Yang.

Read more about the people who discovered and excavated the Terracotta Warriors here


Chariots Fit For A King

Recently, we’ve been featuring presentations made by prominent Chinese scholars at a Discovery Times Square event held in mid-June. The first presentation was by by Tian Jing, Deputy Director of the Museum of Qin Shihuangdi’s Tomb, on the incredible individuality of the Terracotta Warriors. Then we looked at the talk by Zhao Jing, Deputy Director of the Xi’an Centre of Conservation and Restoration, on the highway system of the Qin Dynasty.The final talk, by Zhang Zhongli, Deputy Director of the Shaanxi Province Institute of Archaeology, covered the technical aspects of the magnificent bronze chariots found near the tomb of the First Emperor in 1978.

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One chariot is roughly 10 feet long and 5 feet high, while the other is 7 feet long and 3.5 feet high (see pictures of the reconstructed chariots here). Crafted of more than 7,000 indidually casted bronze parts, they weigh about 5000 pounds total and were adorned with more than 300 gold and silver objects. Zhang disucssed the meticulous restoration work involved in reconstructing the chariots, and how advanced the metallurgical skills of the ancient Chinese craftsmen were.

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For more on the chariots, click here.


21st Century Terracotta Warriors

The legendary warriors got a bit of a modern upgrade recently at a shopping center in Xi’an, near the site of the tomb of the First Emperor. Now we’re just waiting to see one texting on his smartphone, maybe outside our Times Square exhibit! via

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On the Road Again With the Terracotta Warriors

In mid-June, Discovery Times Square was proud to host a trio of prominent Chinese scholars to discuss the latest research on the tomb complex of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, and the Terracotta Warriors. Last week, we looked at the first presentation by Tian Jing, Deputy Director of the Museum of Qin Shihuangdi’s Tomb, on the incredible individuality of the Terracotta Warriors. This week, we’ll look at the talk by Zhao Jing, Deputy Director of the Xi’an Centre of Conservation and Restoration, on the highway system of the Qin Dynasty.

Although it may sound pretty boring, highways actually played a really important role in the First Emperor’s unification of China. Remember the tracks that covered wagons created as they moved across the prairies, or how cars in snowy highways follow the tracks of the cars ahead of them? Now imagine covered wagons, or cars, of varying widths. They’d create a haphazard system of ruts that could damage wheels and send drivers careening off the road. 

This is what China faced at the time of unification more than 2000 years ago: each of the seven states had chariots and wagons of different widths and heights, so, say, a Qin chariot may have trouble travelling on a Han road. Under the First Emperor, roads and chariot widths across all of China were standardized, enabling people to easily travel across the empire. Roads were carefully maintained, allowing powerful Qin chariots to move more quickly than ever to take on any threat to their new territories.

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Archaeologists have not only discovered beautiful bronze chariots, like the two from the First Emperor’s tomb, above, as well as actual ruts preserved in 2,000-year-old roads that show the extraordinary highway system that was created, like the ancient road below. We’ve got a wonderful terracotta charioteer and his horse on display at Discovery Times Square—why don’t you come by and say hello?

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The Many Faces of the Terracotta Warriors

Last week, Discovery Times Square was proud to host a trio of prominent Chinese scholars to discuss the latest research on the tomb complex of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, and the Terracotta Warriors. The first presentation was by Tian Jing, Deputy Director of the Museum of Qin Shihuangdi’s Tomb, titled “Distinguishing Artistic Characteristics of the Qin Terracotta Army.” 

Deputy Director Tian pointed out the difference in appearance between the three general classes of warriors: the generals, the military officers, and the soldiers. “A general’s responsibility and power was greater, consequently these sculptures appear to be more reserved, courageous, stern, and resolute,” observed Tian. “The military officers have a serious and steadfast appearance. The many soldiers generally appear agile, vigilant, brave, or able to face death unflinchingly.” Below, a general (top) and a military officer (bottom).

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During her talk, Tian also pointed out the variety of differences in clothing and hair styles that make each soldier so individual. For instance, take a look at this small example of the different facial hair worn by the warriors:

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Next week, we’ll feature some information from the second talk of the evening, which was about the ancient highway system of the First Emperor. Want to see the Terracotta Warriors for yourself? Buy tickets here!


Jun 22

If you’re unable to make it to NYC this summer for the outstanding Terracotta Warriors exhibit, or just haven’t has a chance to swing by yet, here’s the intro video we feature at the exhibition. Interest piqued? Click to buy tickets and we hope to see you soon!


A Scholarly Look at the Terracotta Warriors

Got plans for tonight? Join us at Discovery Times Square for an exclusive presentation by some of the leading scholars of the Terracotta Warriors. The event starts at 7:30 pm, and is absolutely free! If you can’t make it tonight, stay tuned for the latest information that will be revealed by the scholars- we’ll post it here!

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More Terracotta Warriors Unearthed in China

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How cool is this? Chinese archaeologists have announced the discovery of more than 100 terracotta warriors and horses in the burial site of the First Emperor in Xi’an. The warriors were uncovered in Pit One, the largest pit at the site where more than 6,000 soldiers were previously found. Acrobats and entertainers, like the one we have on display at Discovery Times Square, were also found in another pit. To top it off, archaeologists have announced the discovery of an 8-foot tall figure, which the Beijing Review has dubbed the “Yao Ming of the Qin Dynasty.”

Stay tuned for more news on the latest additions to the Terracotta Warrior army, and come see them for yourself at our New York City exhibit!


Wild Terracotta Warrior Replicas

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Chocolate Terracotta Warriors, via

It’s been said that imitation is the best form of flattery, so the popularity of Terracotta Soldier replicas obviously demonstrates how much these amazing ancient statues have captured our modern-day imagination!

There are more than 30 factories in Xi’an’s Liantong District that craft replicas of the Terracotta Warriors in a variety of sizes. Most of the replicas are bought by Europeans, and we can only wonder where Roger Federer got this one!

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If you’re unable to come to New York City this summer to see the real thing, there’s other spots that are featuring colorful celebrations of the ancient soldiers. In Vancouver, take the time to find the soldiers of the Terracotta Warrior Public Art Project. These replica warriors are painted by local artists and keep a stern eye on things in various public outdoor spaces throughout the city through the season. You can find similarly colorful Terracotta Warriors at the Missouri Botanical Garden Lantern Festival, which features four 10-foot-high paper lanterns in the shape of the ancient soldiers. 

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And if you happen to find yourself in Shanghai with a sweet tooth? Visit the magnificent Chocolate Terracotta Warriors at The World Chocolate Wonderland exhibition, which have been praised for being “so vivid and so well-made.”