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“The first pit that was dug out was the largest in the tomb. There are about six thousand terra-cotta soldiers in one pit. Most of the statues in pit one wear armor. . . Also in pit one are thirty war chariots.” –Terra-Cotta Soldiers: Army of Stone
Terra-Cotta Soldiers: Army of Stone
Digging Up the Past
by Arlan Dean
Good for Reluctant Readers
Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, was not a popular ruler. Despite this, he was able to unify China’s seven states. He also passed laws to standardize written languages, currencies, weights, and measurements. While these laws helped China build strong trade, Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi is best known for his tomb which is guarded by terra-cotta soldiers. The tomb has about eight thousand terra-cotta statues, including individual soldiers and their horses. Terra-Cotta Soldiers: Army of Stone describes the archaeological discovery of thousands of life-sized terracotta warrior statues in northern China in 1974 and discusses the emperor who had them created and placed near his tomb.
Terra-Cotta Soldiers: Army of Stone will appeal to reluctant readers for several reasons. The text is printed in large font and is broken into small, manageable parts. Most of the two-page spreads have text on one side of the page and a large picture on the other side of the page. Readers will be captivated by the pictures of the soldiers and the paintings of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. Throughout the book, there are also two to three sentences describing some of the artifacts found in the tomb. The end of the book has a glossary as well as a short list of other books that readers may want to explore.
Anyone who is interested in history will enjoy Terra-Cotta Soldiers: Army of Stone because the text is both engaging and easy to read. The book includes an interesting mix of Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s cruelty and the emperor’s positive impact on China. The pictures of the terra-cotta soldiers are breathtaking and the history behind them will fascinate readers. Whether you’re writing a research paper or just interested in history, Terra-Cotta Soldiers: Army of Stone is an excellent book to start with because even though the book packs in a lot of facts, it doesn’t read like a history book.
- Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s army “used deadly weapons such as crossbows that shot arrows with poisoned tips. . . If a soldier brought back the head of an enemy, he was given money or a higher position in the army or government.”
- Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi made Confucianism illegal. “He burned all books about Confucianism. Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi also had hundreds of Confucian scholars killed by burying them alive.”
- After Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s death, the peasant class “rose up against the new emperor, Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s son. . . They looted and burned all of the government buildings as well as Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s great palaces.” The tomb was the only thing that survived the uprising.
- Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s wanted his tomb to be safe from grave robbers. “Mechanical crossbows were set up to shoot arrows at anyone who dared to break into the tomb. Then the men who set up the crossbows were buried along with the emperor. . . Women from Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s court were also buried alive in the tomb to provide the emperor with companions in the afterlife.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was not a popular ruler. One reason is that he drafted citizens from all parts of the empire to build his tomb. They were told that they had to be involved in building Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s tomb in order to get to heaven.”