Friday, January 7, 2011

An Army On Parade For 2000 Years Part.VI

The terracotta army, meanwhile, was buried about 1.6 km away, drawn up in full battle order, ready to fight for the emperor in the afterlife as its flesh and blood counterpart had done  during his 40 years reign. Each clay soldier is believed to have been modeled from life- none is the same, their heads and torsos are hollow, but the legs are slid to carry the weight.

An unusual alloy was used to make their swords and spears elements, including copper, tin nickel, magnesium, and cobalt, and was treated with a preservative. This has proved so effective that even after 22 centuries the weapons have not corroded when they were dug up, the blades of some of the surviving weapons were still sharp enough to slice through a hair.
According to many historians, the revolt that destroyed the Qin Empire began when a group of peasants making their way to join the army as conscripts were delayed by heavy rain. Knowing that the penalty for their late arrival would be death, they chose instead to abscond. They became the nucleus of the rebel army that ransacked Shi Huang Di’s tomb in 206 BC.
Shi Huang Di has been both admired and execrated by posterity. His shortcomings are obvious, yet he also worked tirelessly to unify the disparate lands under his control; he claimed that he never went to bed without completing a daily quota of 500 Kg of documents. The imperial lineage he dreamed of founding extended to a mere three rulers- his father, himself, and his son Er- Shi. Nonetheless, it was Shi Huang Di who laid the foundations of the Chinese Empire that was to endure and prosper under the succeeding Han dynasty.

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