Western Wind and Local Soil: The Fascinating Creation of the Terracotta Army

This event has finished Took place on: Wednesday, 18th Jan 2017

After the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army is the most well-known site in China today. Discovered purely by chance by local farmers in 1974, the 6,000 life-size figures are now regarded as the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World.

Who exactly created this ancient army?

This is the subject of fierce debate. In October 2016, the new discoveries were the subject of a documentary, The Greatest Tomb on Earth, jointly made by the BBC and National Geographic.

In this documentary, it was hypothesized that the Terracotta Army was influenced in some ways by Ancient Greek sculptures. But a more compelling case was made by Senior Archaeologist, Dr Li Xiuzhen, who is also featured in the documentary.

Dr Li works at the Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Lintong District, Xi‘an, Shaanxi Province and has been studying the Army on the ground for years. She argues that the Terracotta Army may have been inspired by ancient Greek sculptures and art. Indeed there are traces of cultural contacts between the East and West, even before the formal opening of the Silk Road.

But there is even more compelling evidence of a unique indigenous culture and unique ceramic techniques that played a crucial role in the Terracotta Army which resulted in the creation of the ceramic sculptures in a military formation that is unique in Chinese history and even in world history.

Dr Li Xiuzhen will give a talk which will reveal exactly what this culture was and how it is reflected in the Terracotta Army.

Dr Li Xiuzhen is Honorary Senior Research Associate at UCL Institute of Archaeology. Dr Li has extensive experience in field archaeology, including the excavation and the survey of three pits within the Qin Terracotta Army site, as well as other sites in China and the UK.

Cost: £10


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Location

Asia House,

63 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 7LP

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