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Terracotta Warriors: History, Mystery and the Latest Discoveries
Published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
A history of the famous Terracotta Army in Xi'an, China, exploring what we now know about it, what we still do not know and the theories that surround its creation.
Exciting investigations in north-west China are about to reveal more of the mysteries of the huge mausoleum of the Qin Emperor, a portion of which was accidently discovered in 1974 by farmers who were digging a well. The second phase of an international research project began in 2011 and is ongoing. More recently still, in March 2015, promising new excavations began in Pit 2, with exciting fresh discoveries already announced. Much new material has become available since 2008, the year of the major sell-out exhibitions in London and Paris. Terracotta Warriors seeks to examine one of China's most famous archaeological discoveries in light of these new findings. The book begins with the discovery of the terracotta warriors and then tells the history of the Qin Dynasty and as much as is known about the construction of the 3rd century BCE mausoleum based on the work of the historian Sima Qian (145-90 BCE). He wrote that the First Emperor was buried with palaces, towers, officials, valuable artefacts and wondrous objects. According to this account, 100 flowing rivers were simulated using mercury, and above them the ceiling was decorated with heavenly bodies below which were the features of the land. The new findings and the description of the mausoleum based on the quoted historical accounts suggest that the next discoveries may surpass the size and conception of the original discovery of the terracotta warriors. In the second part, Edward Burman asks: who built it and how? He also questions the role of the terracotta warriors who may be servants and not warriors, and what their function may have been in the afterlife. In the third section, he anticipates the discoveries and describes the new methods of excavation and preservation.
Edward Burman was born in Cambridge and holds a degree in Philosophy and Fine Art from the University of Leeds. From 1999-2012 he was a non-executive director of a London-based listed investment company, and in 2006 set up a company for them in Beijing, which also had a branch office in Xi'an (since closed). Since then he has usually visited Xi'an once a month. He has also taught part-time in universities in England, Italy and China, but is now mainly devoting himself to books and films. He has published eighteen books in all, mainly in the UK and the USA. His most recent book was published in a Chinese translation by Shaanxi People's Press in late 2015. It was published in the original English in March 2016 as Xi'an Through European Eyes: A Cultural History in the Year of the Horse. Since 2014 Edward has been a Trustee of the Xi'an City Wall Heritage Foundation; he is the only foreign trustee.
Reviewer: Caleb Simmons
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