Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Terra Cotta Warriors - Other Pits

Although the building of Pit One is by far the largest one in terms of dimension and number of figures, there were two other pits next to Pit One and a few others at the mausoleum site.
Chariot Drivers and horses
Some figures were in an excellent state of preservation. In other sections, only pieces could be found. Pit Three was small, but the high-ranking figures there were particularly well preserved. Of note, this was the only pit that didn't suffer from burning. I especially liked the imprint of the chariot wheel, still present even though the wood has long since been destroyed by fire and/or decay.
Horse and soldier pieces, chariot wheel imprint
More work needs to be done!
Variety of figures in a pit near Mausoleum
Kneeling Archer
Another highlight for me was seeing some of the figures close up. Placed under glass, these displayed sculptures could be viewed 360°. 
Backside of kneeling soldier (detail)
Some of the paint in the back of the soldier was still visible. I was amazed at how the soles of the soldier's shoes were even imprinted with textured patterns. I looked for the artist's signature on this piece and other sculptures but could not find it. 
Color still showing on a fragment
From my art history class, I knew that the warriors and horses were painted. Prior to watching a video, I wasn't aware of how saturated the colors originally were. The photo above shows a slightly muted version of the original colors. Upon excavation, most of any remaining color faded almost immediately. One website said that the lacquer under the pigments oxidized and curled within 15 seconds of exposure to air and peeled off within four minutes! The purple color, known as Han Purple is of particular interest. Known as one of the earliest synthetic colors, it now is being explored in building quantum computers.
Standing Archer

Detail of mid-ranking archer
Detail of beautifully formed hands of a high-ranking officer

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