The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army

Overview

Standing guard around the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, the ranks of a terracotta army bear silent witness to the vast power of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, who unified China in 221 BCE. Six thousand warriors and horses make up the army, while chariots, a military guard, and a command post complete the host. A new look at one of the most spectacular finds in the annals of archaeology, this book also considers the historical and archaeological context of the Terracotta Army, as well as the extensive research ...

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2007 Hardcover New 0674026977. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--240 pp. With 236 ills. (210 col. ). 30 x 24 cm.

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Overview

Standing guard around the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, the ranks of a terracotta army bear silent witness to the vast power of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, who unified China in 221 BCE. Six thousand warriors and horses make up the army, while chariots, a military guard, and a command post complete the host. A new look at one of the most spectacular finds in the annals of archaeology, this book also considers the historical and archaeological context of the Terracotta Army, as well as the extensive research and excavation carried out since its discovery in 1974.

In richly illustrated chapters, experts in the field describe the Qin's rise and military conquest, the empire's ideology and practices, and the emperor's achievements and legacy. The authors examine the site itself, including new discoveries such as terracotta bureaucrats, acrobats, and strongmen, life-size bronze birds, hundreds of suits of stone armor, and terracotta warriors with colored faces preserved with new technology.

From explorations of the massive mausoleum and the rituals that surrounded it, to explanations of the actual manufacture of the Terracotta Army, the book offers a detailed and authoritative tour of one of ancient history's most eloquent memorials, with all it says of China's long and coherent cultural past—and future potential.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
This beautifully illustrated catalog accompanies a touring exhibition on the Terracotta Army coming directly from China. Editor Portal has done an excellent job. Few historical figures changed the course of history like the First Emperor (d. 210 BCE). Having conquered six rival powers, he created China's first empire and bequeathed a political legacy that has persisted to this day. Modern interest is kept alive not only by Chairman Mao's unabashed endorsement, but by the recent discovery of an army of life-size terracotta soldiers and officers near the emperor's tomb in Xi'an, hailed all over the world as an archaeological wonder. A humongous museum built on the site has become a major tourist attraction.
— V. C. Xiong
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674026971
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Portal is an Assistant Keeper in the Department of Asia in the British Museum, where she is responsible for the Chinese collections. Her publications include Gilded Dragons, Chinese Love Poetry, and the award-winning British Museum Book of Chinese Art.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Qin Shi Huang: A Man, a Vision, an Empire

    Originally published to accompany the exhibition at the British Museum, ¿The First Emperor China¿s Terracotta Army¿ book is now accompanying the exhibition that is currently held at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. This exhibition is about the controversial Qin Shi Huang, his legacy, and artifacts from his city-sized mausoleum complex. This book helps its audience better understand how Qin Shi Huang rose to power and unified China to become its first emperor in 221 BCE. Readers will discover that Qin Shi Huang¿s tomb complex, an analogue of life, contains more than a terracotta army for which it is best known. Think for example about musicians, wrestlers, bureaucrats, and animals. A minor shortcoming of the book is that the chronology reproduced at its beginning goes only from circa 3500 BCE to 220 CE. Not everybody is familiar with the later Chinese dynasties such as the Tangs, the Ming, and the Qing. To summarize, ¿The First Emperor China¿s Terracotta Army¿ succeeds in its ambition to bring back to life a man whose legacy remains controversial in China to this day. As a side note, Barnes & Noble could sell ¿The First Emperor China¿s Terracotta Army¿ DVD that was originally produced to accompany the exhibition at the British Museum. This DVD contains among other things some interesting computer-generated imagery that allows viewers to better appreciate the topography of the mausoleum complex that Qin Shi Huang commissioned in his search for eternity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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